The European push for greener alternatives to fight climate change requires rapid innovation and substantial breakthroughs. To achieve this, the EU-funded EMPHASIS project will develop several green technologies for improving the ecological and financial efficiency of high-energy supercapacitors. These technologies will focus on electrodes, electrolytes and current collectors, optimising them to generate higher amounts of energy at a lower cost and with reduced environmental footprint. The new technologies will also allow for the development of novel value chains that will assist in increasing EU competitiveness and profits while also helping to achieve Green Deal goals.
EMPHASIS aims to develop a new science-oriented and circular-economy approach, for the design and production of next-generation supercapacitors (SCs) achieving the technical specifications defined in the European SET plan targets for 2030. Three main SC components, i.e. electrodes, current collectors and electrolytes, will be optimized to achieve their best combination resulting in very high energy and power density, cyclability, and charge/discharge ratio, reducing at the same time production cost and environmental footprint in comparison to the extant technologies. Laser-assisted methods will be employed to transform biomass to high mass-density films of graphene and graphene/nanoclusters hybrids, offering a dry method for in-situ electrode fabrication. High-surface-area activated carbons and metal-free current collectors with 3D morphology will be produced starting from new bio-based (cellulose) precursors. Novel, green IL-based recyclable electrolytes operating over a wide temperature and voltage window, will be designed and synthesized by industrially-relevant processes to ensure upscaling. Various concepts of SCs (symmetric, asymmetric, hybrid) will be designed and optimized for two specific end-user applications, flexible SCs for wearable technology (medical clothing) and the automotive industry (fuel cell powered vehicles). In both applications, the custom-designed and implemented SCs target to the replacement of batteries in an effort to eliminate the use of CRMs and unsafe/toxic chemicals. Life-cycle analysis will consider environmental and cost-feasibility impact to ensure innovation in the frame of circular economy. EMPHASIS will establish new value chains with energy storage products, essential to future competitiveness and prosperity of the EU industry. To this direction, the project aspires to develop digital technologies that fulfill the Green Deal objectives for secure raw materials, to pave the way for a twin green and digital transformation.