Synergistic relationship between the three-dimensional nanostructure and electrochemical performance in biocarbon supercapacitor electrode materials†
A novel study presented herein correlates the multidimensional morphology with the electrochemical performance of activated bio-carbon materials, for supercapacitor devices over multiple length scales. The optimization of the potassium hydroxide (KOH)/cellulose ratio for supercapacitor electrode materials is related to morphological characteristics and corresponding electrochemical performance, as described in terms of porosity, specific surface area, specific capacitance and electrochemical impedance. KOH/cellulose samples with ratios 0.5 : 1 and 1 : 1 exhibited the best performance, characterized by a hierarchal porous network structure, high surface area and low cell resistance. Compared with the rest of the manufactured samples and commercial activated carbons, Ketjen Black (KB), Norit activated carbon (NAC) and bead-shaped activated carbon (BAC), the former two samples showed better results in three-electrode systems and coin cells, with specific gravimetric capacitances as high as 187 F g−1 at a current density of 1 A g−1. The high performance is attributed to the morphology of the samples that constituted a combination of micro-, meso- and macroporosity which consequently gave high specific surface area, high porosity, low cell resistance and high specific capacitance. This further corroborates the structure-performance relationship observed in the author's model KOH/cellulose system, highlighting that the work can be extended to other similar systems. It is clear that the three-dimensional nanostructure of a material must be understood in its entirety in order to optimize the electrochemical performance.