Rolls-Royce signs an agreement with U.K.-based technology startup Superdielectrics to explore the potential of using polymers with recently discovered properties to create next-generation high-energy storage technology.
Working with researchers from the universities of Bristol and Surrey, Superdielectrics is developing hydrophilic materials, similar to those designed for soft contact lenses, to increase the storage capabilities of capacitors, which store electricity by creating electrostatic fields.
These dielectric polymers may provide an opportunity to create capacitors that are able to rival, or even exceed, the storage capacity of traditional rechargeable batteries.
The supercapacitors also may be able to charge much faster than Li-ion batteries. This could see electric vehicles fully charged within a few minutes and last as long as EVs do now.
The technology could accelerate the adoption of EVs and solve range anxiety.
Instead of storing energy in chemical form, supercapacitors hold it in an electrical field. Tesla founder Elon Musk predicted in 2011 that supercapacitors, not batteries, would power future vehicles.
The terms of the agreement between Rolls-Royce and Superdielectrics are confidential. But Rolls-Royce says it will combine its material science and technical expertise with Superdielectrics’ hydrophilic polymers that have been shown to have potentially outstanding energy storage properties.
Superdielectrics CEO Jim Heathcote says the company discovered, in self-funded research with the two universities, an entirely new group of polymeric superdielectrics.
The company says the technology is not limited to rare or expensive elements and potentially has a higher energy density than both lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries.