One of the potential uses for graphene – the super-material that has yet to live up to its promises – is as a capacitor for storing electrical energy. I wrote back in 2013 about Ric Kaner’s lab at UCLA being able to produce sheets of graphene flakes. They found that the material could quickly gain a charge then store it for a long period of time before releasing it, a combination that conventional capacitors aren’t capable of.
It seems Kaner’s lab has made some strides in the past four years. They’ve created a supercapacitor using graphene layered with proteins from serum or urine which serves as a biocompatible electrode. Their hope is that they can couple the graphene-based capacitor with an energy-harvesting mechanism that would get power from body movements or electrical activity. The resultant device could power other implanted devices and eliminate the need for batteries.
It would be a game-changer if they can pull it off, but as with all things graphene … well, let’s just say we’ll wait and see.