US Nuclear and Grapheton’s new supercapacitors could charge your next electric vehicle in seconds

US Nuclear Corporation, Canoga Park, California, is a publicly traded holding company, OTCQB UCLE, with 3 divisions specializing in the design and manufacture of radiation and chemical instrumentation. This includes systems for nuclear power, nuclear medicine, air, and water quality. US Nuclear ’s partner Grapheton Inc., San Diego, California, has developed the next generation of supercapacitors using a special patented glassy carbon material. Featuring remarkable charge storage capacity and power density, Grapheton’s supercapacitors could be used in powering and rapidly charging electric vehicle systems. A typical electric vehicle running on lithium-ion batteries takes about 8 hours to fully charge, but a supercapacitor system could be fully charged in under a minute. Batteries still retain the advantage when it comes to higher energy density (ability to store energy), but new advances in supercapacitor technology, such as those made by Grapheton, could allow supercapacitors to hold the same amount of charge as a battery and deliver the charge in just seconds. Grapheton’s unique glassy carbon supercapacitors can have up to 3 million times more capacitance than commercial off-the-shelf capacitors.

Supercapacitors have numerous advantages over traditional batteries, such as:

  1. Supercapacitors can be recharged with little to no degradation (supercapacitors can handle over 1 million charge/discharge cycles vs 2000-3000 cycles with regular batteries), which means a huge savings in materials and costs
  2. Almost instant charge and discharge times
  3. Weigh less than traditional batteries 
  4. Supercapacitors are eco-friendly and don’t contain toxic metals or harmful materials and so avoid the risks of poisoning workers, car owners or the environment.

There are already some electric vehicles in trial operation that run off supercapacitors, such as the capabus, which is a new type of electric bus that runs on supercapacitors (or in some versions, a hybrid of batteries and supercapacitors). The capabus runs without continuous lines overhead and instead rapidly charges the supercapacitors at each bus stop along the route- a collector raises from the top of the bus and touches an overhead charging line, which only takes about 30-80 seconds to fully charge.

It is estimated that this type of bus has 1/10th the energy cost of a diesel bus which can lead to a lifetime fuel savings of $200,000.  The capabuses use 40% less electricity than even an electric trolley bus, and cost about 40% less than a lithium-ion bus.  Buses are the logical choice for supercapacitor systems for now as they have predictable routes and stop frequently.  Advances in supercapacitor energy density could, over time, replace batteries altogether and be used in all forms of portable electronics.

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