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Can Supercapacitors Replace Lithium-Ion Batteries in Smartphones? Let's Find Out
Did you know that it is possible?
Going by to the high school days, all of us would have heard of capacitors. Basically, a capacitor is a device, which can store the electrical charge and deliver the same. Capacitors are similar to batteries as both have similar applications.
Now, you might think why all smartphones use batteries and not capacitors? You will get to know the answer to this question later. Here, this content will shed light on supercapacitors - a new charge storing component that is getting highly popular. Also, we will tell you why the supercapacitors might replace the lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones.
Lithium-ion battery vs capacitors - Get to know the differences
Usually, batteries are available in different shapes, types, and sizes. The smartphones use the lithium-ion batteries. With high energy density, these batteries can store a lot of charge despite being small and light. Eventually, they are ideal components to be used in smartphones and other portable electronic devices.
Talking about capacitors, these components have the ability to charge as well as discharge quickly. The downside with capacitors is that they store very little charge for their size. This is the major reason that common capacitors cannot power a smartphone.
Supercapacitors play a great role here
The supercapacitors aka ultracapacitors occupy the position between batteries and capacitors due to their properties. The supercapacitors have the ability to store a reasonable amount of charge. Though supercapacitor's energy capacity may be a hundred times higher than that of a regular capacitor, it is far from that of a battery. The advantage that the supercapacitors have is that they can be charged relatively faster than the lithium-ion batteries and won't degrade as quickly as the batteries do over time. Moreover, the supercapacitors have a great tolerance for extremely high temperatures.
As of now, the supercapacitors cannot replace the lithium-ion batteries used in smartphones. But, with advancements in this sector, this can become a reality in future. If it happens, the smartphone battery can be charged in just seconds and work like a new one even after using it for a decade. Sounds like a fairy tale, isn't?
Advancements we can expect to see in supercapacitors
We had mentioned that we can see supercapacitors in smartphones in the future. That doesn't mean that it will happen in the near future. We can expect flagship smartphones launched in a decade or even more to be powered by supercapacitors. As of now, research is going on in several institutions in order to find out the ways to enhance the energy storage capacities of supercapacitors.
Supercapacitor technology is facing many challenges
The first challenge that the supercapacitors (regular capacitors too) face is the rapid discharging. If the technology isn't implemented in the right way, it could result in failure that will end up in something like the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.
Also Read: Smartphone Batteries and Their Types
Ultra-fast charging is another one. It is possible to charge the supercapacitors in just a few seconds, but the process requires a massive power supply. Such a charger should be the size of a laptop's power supply at least.
The cost also plays a challenging role in implementing the supercapacitor technology. It involves a lot of research and development for a supercapacitor to replace a smartphone battery. This will require a lot of effort, time and cost. In case supercapacitors become a reality, the same will be pretty expensive and the same will have a major impact on the cost of the phones using these instead of typical batteries.
Is it possible?
Well, every technology we have now has managed to overcome the involved challenges. Likewise, every emerging technology has several challenges and overcoming them is something that is possible. However, only time can tell when the supercapacitors will replace lithium-ion batteries in smartphones.