This Eco-Friendly 'Power Paper' Can Store Energy, Charge in Seconds

Thor Balkhed and Abdellah Malti via Linkoping University
Thor Balkhed and Abdellah Malti via Linkoping University / Thor Balkhed and Abdellah Malti via Linkoping University

Researchers from Sweden’s Linköping University have found a way to store energy in a flexible piece of organic paper [PDF]. The high-tech “power paper” is only a few tenths of a millimeter thick and can store as much energy as a supercapacitor. All it takes is a few seconds for the material to charge up, and it can be recharged hundreds of times in a day. 

The paper has already broken four world records: highest charge and capacitance in organic electronics, highest measured current in an organic conductor, highest capacity to simultaneously conduct ions, and highest transconductance in a transistor. That level of efficiency could have huge implications for the future of renewable energy, and the paper itself is environmentally friendly as well. It’s made from recyclable cellulose fibers, which were compressed by high-pressure water until broken down into sections as thin as 20 nanometers. The fibers were then coated in an an electrically charged polymer and shaped into a circular patch 15 centimeters in diameter. 

Thor Balkhed and Abdellah Malti via Linkoping University

In addition to being made without harmful chemicals, the material is incredibly strong and pliable. The researchers behind it folded it into an origami swan to test out its ability to retain its shape. The material shows potential for applications in bendable displays for smartphones, watches, and laptops. But before that can become a reality, the team must first face the challenge of producing the paper on a commercial scale. The researchers are hoping the grant of $4 million they received recently from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research will help them to successfully develop a paper machine to manufacture the product. 

[h/t: The Daily Mail]