Fully 3D Printed and Disposable Paper Supercapacitors

Advanced Materials 2021 Volume 33, Issue 26, Article 2101328

With the development of the internet-of-things for applications such as wearables and packaging, a new class of electronics is emerging, characterized by the sheer number of forecast units and their short service-life. Projected to reach 27 billion units in 2021, connected devices are generating an exponentially increasing amount of electronic waste (e-waste). Fueled by the growing e-waste problem, the field of sustainable electronics is attracting significant interest. Today, standard energy-storage technologies such as lithium-ion or alkaline batteries still power most of smart devices. While they provide good performance, the nonrenewable and toxic materials require dedicated collection and recycling processes. Moreover, their standardized form factor and performance specifications limit the designs of smart devices. Here, exclusively disposable materials are used to fully print nontoxic supercapacitors maintaining a high capacitance of 25.6 F g−1 active material at an operating voltage up to 1.2 V. The presented combination of digital material assembly, stable high-performance operation, and nontoxicity has the potential to open new avenues within sustainable electronics and applications such as environmental sensing, e-textiles, and healthcare.