Reinvented Supercapacitor Materials Headed to be Big Business

A new IDTechEx report evaluates the range of emerging material developments for supercapacitors aimed at increasing their performance and applications.

IDTechEx Research

There is a big picture emerging for supercapacitors that will make even their materials a billion dollar plus business. Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, explains, "New hybrid supercapacitors may replace large aluminium-electrolytic capacitors, just as existing military supercapacitor hybrids from Evans Capacitor replace tantalum electrolytics in phased array radar, GaN power circuits, laser pumping and more. New matched electrolytes and active electrode materials will provide non-poisonous, non-flammable supercapacitors. Some will exploit pseudocapacitance rather than a battery electrode to more nearly approach the energy density of lithium-ion batteries and grab more of the market by superb power density, temperature ranges, fit-and-forget and so on." 

The new IDTechEx report, "Supercapacitor Materials and Technology Roadmap 2019-2039" spells out the full range of these emerging developments embracing new aqueous, ionic and solid state electrolytes matched to MXenes and other new 2D compounds, carbon aerogels, metallorganic frameworks, vertically aligned graphene and more. Now we are talking about a huge range of new applications replacing very different forms of capacitor and battery and making many new things possible. For example, structural electronics from each layer of different 2D compound performing different electronic functions is in prospect, powered by supercapacitor layers. Clay is a 2D compound. Pottery electronics anyone? Off grid house where the bricks are the supercapacitor storage? Forget components-in-a-box. Here comes structural electronics.

Leading researcher for the report, Dr. Peter Harrop of IDTechEx adds, "The supercapacitor materials business will be boosted by the Chinese promise to drop prices 30% in the next three years, driven by huge orders in their protected market. Indeed, supercapacitors have in the past reduced costs and increased energy density ten times over longer periods and another factor of ten for both parameters is in prospect for certain versions. On the other hand, some load-bearing, shaped versions are lighter weight than the dumb structures they replace - negative mass, zero volume energy! They do not need highest inherent energy density so their other parameters will more readily be made superb. Creative marketers will have a bean feast when those are in production."