Graphene Batteries

We are adressing the question "what is graphene" and an overview of graphene energy applications in separate articles, so here we focus specifically on graphene's application for battery technology.
Graphene has proven useful for different types of batteries – redox flow, metal–air, lithium–sulfur, lithium-metal and, more importantly, lithium-ion batteries. Since graphene can be chemically processed into various forms suitable for both the positive and negative electrodes, this enables the fabrication of all-graphene batteries with ultrahigh energy density.
Morphologies of a graphene-based air electrode
Morphologies of the graphene-based air electrode. a, b) SEM images of as-prepared functionalized graphene sheets (FGS) (carbon/oxygen (C/O) = 14) air electrodes at different magnifications. c, d) Discharged air electrode using FGS with C/O = 14 and C/O = 100, respectively. (© American Chemical Society)
Researchers have repeatedly shown the use of graphene composite materials, for instance carbon nanotube/graphene sandwiches, for high-rate lithium-sulfur batteries or to boost lithium metal batteries; or in combination with molybdenum disulfide as high-performance electrodes for sodium-ion batteries.
Even 3D-printed graphene batteries, using graphene ink, have already been demonstrated.
There is a big problem though: Although scientists have demonstrated graphene-based batteries with performance characteristics far exceeding those of commercially available ones, the lack of feasible techniques for the mass production of high-quality graphene limits their potential for practical use, for instance in mobile consumer devices.
Another issue that prevents mass production is cost. Estimates for the cost of production of graphene vary depending on the quality of the material from tens to thousands of dollars per kilogram, but it is still not competitive with state-of-the-art materials. For example, the very low cost of activated carbon currently used in supercapacitors (US$10-15 per kilogram) presents a difficult barrier to the entry of other materials.
These phurdles will be overcome, though, and soon, graphene could establish a new generation of energy-storage devices with 12 new features not possible with current technology, as summarized below (source):
Supercapacitors with AC line filtering
  • – Vertically oriented graphene
  • – Electrochemically reduced graphene oxide
  • – Graphene–CNT carpets
  • – Graphene–PEDOT:PSS hybrid film
  • Flexible energy-storage devices
  • – 3D graphene foam
  • – V2O5–graphene paper
  • – rGO–cellulose paper
  • – 3D graphene network fiber
  • Stretchable batteries and supercapacitors
  • – Wrinkled CVD graphene
  • Energy-storage devices for wearable electronics
  • – Graphene–MnO2 coated textile
  • – Graphene–CNT core–sheath fiber
  • Transparent batteries and capacitors
  • – Wrinkled CVD graphene
  • – Li4Ti5O12 and LiMn2O4
  • Fast-charging batteries
  • – Li4Ti5O12–graphene foam
  • – CVD graphene foam Al battery
  • Lightweight batteries for ultrathin electronics
  • – 3D graphene or few-layer graphene
  • – V2O5–graphene paper
  • Graphene oxide as solid electrolyte and separator
  • – Graphene oxide nanosheets
  • – rGO–GO–rGO microsupercapacitors
  • – rGO–GO–rGO supercapacitors
  • Supercapacitors with the energy density of batteries
  • – Liquid-mediated graphene film
  • – Holey graphene frameworks
  • – 3D MnO2–graphene hybrid film
  • Permselective membranes for safe batteries
  • – Permselective GO Membrane
  • Longer lasting energy-storage devices
  • – Photothermally reduced graphene
  • – Solvated graphene framework
  • Binder and additive-free electrodes
  • – Laser-scribed 3D graphene
  • – Holey graphene frameworks
  • – Liquid-mediated graphene film
  • If you are interested in a wider discussion, read our article on the use of graphene for energy applications, where we cover graphene applications for solar cells, fuel cell catalysis, and supercapacitors.