Researchers at Linkoping University’s Laboratory of Organic Electronics, Sweden, have developed “Power Paper”, a new type of material with an outstanding ability to store electricity. The material consists of nanocellulose and a conductive polymer.

Power paper is a material having one sheet, 15 centimetres in diameter and a few tenths of a millimeter thick and it is able to be recharged many hundreds of time, and in mere seconds. It is also lightweight, requires no toxic chemicals or heavy metals to create, and may offer a renewable and prolific way to provide energy to all manner of devices. Power Paper are capable of storing 1 F of electricity, which is similar to the supercapacitors currently on the market.

”Thin films that function as capacitors have existed for some time. What we have done is to produce the material in three dimensions. We can produce thick sheets,” — says Xavier Crispin, professor of organic electronics and co-author to the article just published in Advanced Science.

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How Power Paper Look Like

Power Paper

The material, power paper, looks and feels like a slightly plasticky paper.The structural foundation of the material is nanocellulose, which is cellulose fibres which, using high-pressure water, are broken down into fibres as thin as 20 nm in diametre.With the cellulose fibres in a solution of water, an electrically charged polymer, also in a water solution, is added. The polymer then forms a thin coating around the fibres.

“The covered fibres are in tangles, where the liquid in the spaces between them functions as an electrolyte,”  —  explained researcher Jesper Edberg.

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Power Paper
The mixture consists of nanocellulose and a conductive polymer | Image Source : Linkoping University

The new cellulose-polymer material has set a new world record in simultaneous conductivity for ions and electrons, which explains its exceptional capacity for energy storage. It also opens the door to continued development toward even higher capacity. Unlike the batteries and capacitors currently on the market, power paper is produced from simple materials – renewable cellulose and an easily available polymer. It is light in weight, it requires no dangerous chemicals or heavy metals and it is waterproof.

The new power paper is just like regular pulp, which has to be dehydrated when making paper. The challenge is to develop an industrial-scale process for this.

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