Fabric Supercapacitor for Solar Energy Harvesting and Storage

Jonathan Chen, Weihua Luo, and Xinxin Li
The University of Texas at Austin, Texas, United States

Keywords: fabric supercapacitor, solar energy, advanced fabric, carbon material, nano material

This is a patent-pending technology for producing all-fabric supercapacitors as an energy storage device for solar energy harvesting. The developed technology used a specific porous fabric and a highly conductive fabric to form a fabric architecture of supercapacitor, also called electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC). Recent development of supercapacitor technologies try to shift capacitor performance from power density priority to energy density priority, so that it could function as a battery as well. However, EDLC construction is still based on metal, carbon, and liquid electrolyte, nothing related to textile fabrics. The technology innovation is a special design and engineering approach for integrating the commercial energy fabrics and flexible solar cells into a new supercapacitor device. This energy storage device has a flexible multilayer sheeting structure. Its area and shape can be defined according to different end uses. Thus, the fabric supercapacitor can be directly integrated into apparel, bag, tent, and other consumer products, making these fabric-based products a mobile and portable solar power supply. The developed technology does not need any new yarn spinning and fabric forming infrastructures. A simple short supply chain would be expected.