DIY Super Capacitors, and Robert Murray-Smith

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spinningmagnets
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DIY Super Capacitors, and Robert Murray-Smith

Post by spinningmagnets » Mar 17, 2018 10:46 pm

A few days ago, I stumbled onto a string of videos by RMS. They covered a wide variety of subjects, but the main theme over the last five years has been a slow steady march to documenting how to make super capacitors in your garage, in a safe, easy, and cheap manner.

He now has a company, First Working Generation, FWG. The lofty goals are many in nature.

Do not use exotic elements, or expensive elements (cobalt, for instance). Non-hazardous for easy and safe disposal if damaged by using common trash collection. Find a way to easily and cheaply make graphene, and use it in a way that dramatically increases the capacity of DIY super capacitors. For instance, one video shows how to make a cheap ball-mill and attach it to a drill press (to make a fine powder from carbon).

Another video shows how to make conductive ink that is doped with DIY graphene and can be applied to paper as the matrix by a common office printer. How to make unusually thin foil that has graphene impregnated for conductivity (graphoil?), as the collectors, since increasing the plate surface area per volume is the key to high capacity.

This is not perfect lab-grade single-layer nano-graphene (see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bTwAi2UtO0). At best it averages 3-layers (per his claim), but...it's damn good and dirt cheap once the very affordable equipment is built. This has yet to be publicly tested by a recognized expert 3rd party, but...he has built a 20S pack of 1.5V cells for 36V, and he has been riding a scooter with it. There is no chemical reaction, it is only a capacitor collector plate pair that is unusually thin, and has many hundreds of super-thin layers squeezed into cells, using graphene to increase the surface area on the plates (on a microscopic scale).

As a capacitor, it can be charged at an unusually fast rate, and can also provide an unusually high C-rate of discharge. It can operate in extreme cold at a level that would be difficult for a chemical battery, and also extreme heat. He "claims" he has achieved an energy capacity (range) equal to current lithium-ion batteries, but there is nobody disputing that these super capacitors should last a lifetime, instead of wearing out in a few years.

In the early videos, he chose a tiny quadcopter motor with 3-bladed propeller as the common load for all the cell testing. The tiny load was because he was going to be testing hundreds of super capacitor prototypes, so he wanted the initial SC's to be small (roughly one centimeter square, close to one-half inch). After years, he settled on four main SC combinations, and then began making larger SC prototypes. The recent scooter super-capacitor (if that's what it really is) looks like a standard 48V 20-Ah lithium battery-pack in size.

Is this real? There seems to be dozens of videos covering every aspect of the material selection and assembly, and there doesn't seem to be any "secret sauce". I hope it is real. Either way, I feel this would be of interest to many of the builders here, so...here's a few links to get you started. There are quite a few places where he began calling the super-capacitors "batteries", and near the end, he calls the final style Electrical Energy Storage Device/ EESD.



Using a printer to make SC's
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2alSybwwSEk

Simple and cheap way to make graphene
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvqkH0WLvyc

DIY conductive ink
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyGX-VyXXTQ

The scooter, 1.5V, 20S, 36V
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlETscs0IVo

Combining super capacitors and batteries at a cell level
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1jusadHkmM

Optional components when you DIY super capacitors
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ce2au3PWnI

Cheap and easy solid electrolyte for SC's (2013)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ogpeaklho_M

Four battery types they developed
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CLfynG3ECk

How to make a battery out of a carrot
(baking carrots down to being carbon, then making large capacitors from it)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeqdwPm ... e=youtu.be

Here is an index of his youtube videos
https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertMurraySmith/videos

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Re: DIY Super Capacitors, and Robert Murray-Smith

Post by Hillhater » Mar 17, 2018 11:53 pm

I followed his videos for several years and eventually assumed he was going nowhere despite some apparently brilliant ideas.
Its good to see they have now formed a company (FWG) and are bringing products to market.
Particularly impressed by their "C6 Powerblade". Paper graphite cell.
https://youtu.be/JP41vCUBz9Y
This forum owes its existence to Justin of ebikes.ca

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Re: DIY Super Capacitors, and Robert Murray-Smith

Post by Punx0r » Mar 18, 2018 5:50 am

If he was claiming to have approached the capacity of existing commercial caps but using novel methods to make a them cheaper/simpler/greener then that would be plausible.

However, he's claiming to have bettered them by at least an order of magnitude and achieved the supercap holy grail - capacity rivalling li-ion. This is hardly an area industry and acedemia has failed to research. So Occam's razor strongly suggests his claims are bogus.

Also, why do all that work and not publish simple discharge curves to back up your claims? From your description it seems he has not done this. Also, if I was looking for credibility/investment/customers, the first thing I'd do would be to have my product claims independently tested and certified by an accredited laboratory/test house.

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Re: DIY Super Capacitors, and Robert Murray-Smith

Post by spinningmagnets » Mar 18, 2018 6:51 am

I came across several impressive videos in the series, and as a result I set aside time to watch quite a few and take notes. If it is a scam, it is quite an impressive "long game". There are dozens of verifiable and useful bits along the way (even a broken clock is right twice a day? The biggest lies have a grain of truth?).

Comparing his claimed results against my previous research, the only claim I am skeptical of is the range. Near the end of the video series, I must confess I was very impressed by the display of the 36V scooter being ridden, and the "black box" being pulled out of the battery compartment, which matched the image of the large rectangular SC bank he had been assembling in the previous videos. Of course that would be easy to "fake" for the benefit of potential investors.

They have purchased a "Twizy" from Renault / France, and it is a small two-seat tandem electric vehicle that Americans would dismiss as a 40-MPH "golf cart" that is legal to drive on the streets. He mentions that it was affordable to buy, and it is owned by them, rather than the stock battery being leased (which he claims is popular in EU). He didn't want to pay for the battery lease since he wouldn't be using the stock battery, but he did want an affordable new vehicle that was already an EV and was light (according to him).

They claim he will be driving the Twizy from southern UK to the northern tip on a publicity tour (in three months, June-ish?) during what I can only assume is the three days of the UK summer. Presumably having third parties verify that it doesn't simply have a fake lithium pack inside an SC case. I guess we will see.

Renault Twizy
https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-review/renault/twizy

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Re: DIY Super Capacitors, and Robert Murray-Smith

Post by Harold in CR » Mar 18, 2018 7:38 am

I watched a video last night from a guy that took activated carbon and ground it with a coffee grinder. Then used 2 mesh sifters and shook them over his kitchen sink, allowing the very fines to be washed down the drain. ?
Then he used the next coarser ground stuff to "attach" to 2 aluminum plates using clear polyurethane varnish?. Then folded a paper towel and placed it over 1 plate, soaked it with hydrofluoric ? acid and laid the second plate on it and squeezed them together with spring clamps.

Then he vacuum sealed and shrink wrapped the "sandwich" cell and hooked it to a tiny motor. I think he might have charged it some, can't remember, anyway, he ran the motor for over 10 minutes without a break in the video taping. It started out at .9 something volts and the motor drew .31 ma dropping to .23 ma while cell discharged to .37v. I was confused why he didn't keep the really fine carbon instead of the next coarser grade to plate the 2 aluminum plates. The 2 plates were about the size of credit card or just a tad larger.

He says as he continues to use the cell, it will gain some capacity. He has other supplies to experiment with and this cell was one of several he has made.

Using under 1 volt and ma's doesn't mean much, but, it was nice to see his construction.
Thanks to Justin, the forum is open source and NON-commercialized.

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Re: DIY Super Capacitors, and Robert Murray-Smith

Post by spinningmagnets » Mar 18, 2018 8:33 am

Sounds like this video (29 minutes):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar3C5JgzhgE

coffee grinder and mesh sifting at 3:00, mixing purchased graphene with urethane and applying to the collector plates at 6:20, applying graphene / urethane mix to plates, then immediately covering the graphene layer with the sifted carbon grains at 7:37. Adding phosphoric acid as an electrolyte to the cloth being used as a separator at 10:30. Assembly at 11:33.

Configuration:

Aluminum plate....thin layer of graphene-powder + urethane...layer of sifted carbon grains...paper towel section doped with acid (electrolyte?) in the center...layer of sifted carbon grains...graphene and urethane...aluminum plate.

Take the sandwich and seal it inside a plastic sleeve with a wire from each plate exiting the envelope.

note: capacitors don't seem to have an issue with location of electrodes and current-sharing of the mass of active material. By that I mean that I noticed he placed the electrode wires at opposite corners (he even mentions for a high-discharge / charge capacitor, he would add thicker wires and attach them at every corner). So...If using liquid electrolyte, there is apparently no performance penalty by having both electrodes at the top of the cell of a capacitor, to prevent drippage in poorly-sealed examples.

edit: I don't know if the tiny jar really contains "true" graphene powder, and I don't know if I am using the correct terminology for any of this...I just found it interesting, and felt that others here would be curious also...

This is the product he claims to be using, and the product claims to be 5-grams (for $100) of "A-12" graphene containing micro-flakes, each made from 3-layers of graphene up to 12-layers. The theory is that graphene flakes can dramatically increase the surface area of a plate, which allows a greater amount of charge to be held onto it.

https://graphene-supermarket.com/Graphe ... m-5-g.html

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Re: DIY Super Capacitors, and Robert Murray-Smith

Post by Harold in CR » Mar 18, 2018 1:23 pm

Sounds like the one I was watching. It was late and I forgot some of the details. :oops: :roll:
Thanks to Justin, the forum is open source and NON-commercialized.

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Re: DIY Super Capacitors, and Robert Murray-Smith

Post by Hillhater » Mar 18, 2018 7:12 pm

That RMS video of basic combining of supercapacitor and lead acid in one cell made me follow up on the "Ultrabattery". https://youtu.be/N1jusadHkmM
It may be old news to some of you , but the "ultrabattery" seems to have passed under the radar for some reason ?
On another thread (wind , Solar, coal, etc etc) i had posted about the Australian King Island micro grid project, with Solar, wind, diesel, battery storage, etc ,...all combined in a micro utility scale grid to research performance.
http://www.kingislandrenewableenergy.com.au
Dispite several enquiries i could not find what type of battery they were using, but now i have discovered they are using a 3.0MW, 1.6 MWh , "Ecoult Ultrabattery" ,..and have been for several years
However it seems impossible to get any detail feedback as to its performance etc
https://www.ecoult.com/technology/ultrabattery
So "Supercapacitor Batteries". Of one form at least, Are available commercially !
PS, i believe these "Ultrabatteries" are now produced in the USA by East Pen Manufacturing, under the name "Deka" battery.
http://www.eastpennmanufacturing.com/ta ... rabattery/
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