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Improvement of the structural and chemical properties of a commercial activated carbon for its application in electrochemical capacitors

AuthorsLota, G.; Álvarez Centeno, Teresa ; Frackowiak, E.; Stoeckli, Fritz
Pore size distribution
Immersion calorimetry
Electrochemical capacitor
Issue DateJan-2008
CitationElectrochimica Acta 53(5): 2210-2216 (2008)
AbstractThe present paper shows that the performance of an inexpensive activated carbon used in electrochemical capacitors can be significantly enhanced by a simple treatment with KOH at 850 °C. The changes in the specific surface area, as well as in the surface chemistry, lead to high capacitance values, which provide a noticeable energy density. The KOH-treatment of a commercial activated carbon leads to highly pure carbons with effective surface areas in the range of 1300–1500 m2 g−1 and gravimetric capacitances as high as three times that of the raw carbon. For re-activated carbons, one obtains at low current density (50 mA g−1) values of 200 F g−1 in aqueous electrolytes (1M H2SO4 and 6M KOH) and around 150 F g−1 in 1M (C2H5)4NBF4 in acetonitrile. Furthermore, the resulting carbons present an enhanced and stable performance for high charge/discharge load in organic and aqueous media. This work confirms the possibilities offered by immersion calorimetry on its own for the prediction of the specific capacitance of carbons in (C2H5)4NBF4/acetonitrile. On the other hand, it also shows the limitations of this technique to assess, with a good accuracy, the suitability of a carbon to be used as capacitor electrodes operating in aqueous electrolytes (H2SO4 and KOH).
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.electacta.2007.09.028
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