Research Project Summary Information
Graphene for PV and Energy Storage(18793)
Graphene Devices Ltd.
Graphene, a promising new material discovered in 2004, is an atom-thick layer of carbon that has many desirable properties (including extremely high carrier mobilities at room temperature). This makes it suitable for use in energy and power-related devices, including as a transparent electrode for photovoltaics, an ultracapacitor, a battery component, and in a variety of other important applications. Yet it has been difficult to manufacture reliably, in large areas, defect-free, and cost effectively. This project builds on the work of Dr. Banerjee from the State University at Buffalo, who has pioneered the use of solution-based methods that can lead to the fabrication of high-quality, scalable and cost-effective grapheme films. Dr. Banerjee’s approach combines the solution-phase production of chemically modified grapheme from graphite, with spin-coating and dip-coating technologies for the fabrication of films on glass and plastic substrates. This project focuses on developing grapheme films to substitute for indium tin oxide, a conducting layer applied to glass that is used in the fabrication of solar modules.
The project was designed to develop reproducible, scalable methods for successfully exfoliating graphite in solution, for fabricating graphene-based coatings, and for post-deposition treatment of films. Significant progress was made on achieving a number of the project’s technical objectives. Nevertheless, producing a graphene-based transparent-conductive film for solar cell applications was not achievable in the short term and by the original means proposed. By the end of the first year, the Contractor re-focused its strategy to develop a salable conductive ink formulation with a new joint development partner. This was a needed step toward ultimately raising investment capital. The contract was modified to focus on producing graphene materials for conductive inks and ultra-capacitor applications.
This product, if perfected, could reduce the cost of solar modules by replacing indium tin oxide, which uses rare and expensive indium and delaminates and cracks in flexible applications. Graphene can improve the conductivity of activated carbon-based conductive inks, and increase the energy and power storage capacity of ultra-capacitors. Results from the project could also help place New York State at the forefront of graphene development and create development and manufacturing jobs.
Novel methods to produce graphene in slurries, suspensions and dispersions using non-toxic and nonhazardous agents were explored. Production of graphene materials was scaled-up, starting at 50ml to 10 liters, representing a step toward reaching commercial quantities and developing a continuous graphene manufacturing process. Graphene formulations produced were used to coat plastics, glass, steel, and aluminum, representing a step toward developing prototype graphene-based inks and electrodes. Extensive tests on physical characteristics, chemical composition and conductivity of graphene materials produced were completed, as a step toward producing high quality materials. The conductivity of graphene materials produced was shown to be more conductive high quality activated carbon. In addition, Graphene Devices Ltd. did the following: it established a joint development agreement with conductive ink supplier; it established production facilities at Eastman Business Park, with support from Empire State Development; and it attracted experienced individuals to join its management team with technical, legal and finance skills.
Graphene Devices Ltd.
138 Chapel Woods
Williamsville, NY 14221
Energy Power Supply
NYSERDA Contact Information
R&D -Transport & Power Systems