SATURDAY, APRIL 19, 2014

Florida State inks deal to license new supercapacitor invention

FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Professor Jianping "Jim" Zheng

The ink is still drying on an agreement between Florida State University and Tallahassee-based General Capacitor LLC for the development of a new supercapacitor technology destined to play a major role in the world’s future energy usage and storage needs.

Invented in FSU’s Aero-Propulsion, Mechatronics and Energy Center (AME), and Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS) by Jim P. Zheng, a Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering professor, the new technology addresses current supercapacitor weaknesses that limit their effective use compared to traditional rechargeable battery technology.

“Supercapacitors have great advantages over rechargeable batteries in that they charge and discharge energy very rapidly and last much longer overall,” Zheng said. “However, the cost of those advantages is a smaller pool of energy to draw from, which currently limits how and where they can be used. This new technology significantly increases their energy pool, opening up a range of new uses in areas such as the automotive and alternative energy industries.”

Under the new agreement, General Capacitor will work with Zheng to transform the invention into commercially viable products that can positively impact society. Examples of potential uses include rapid-charge electric buses used in city transportation, buffers for short-term power grid outages, providing more reliable bursts of energy for heavy lifting equipment such as forklifts, and improving the effectiveness of new fuel cell-powered automobiles.

“Licensing deals like this are very exciting events not only for the inventor and their university, but for local, national and global communities as well,” said FSU Vice President for Research Gary K. Ostrander. “They signify the commercial recognition of a discovery that can be used to enhance our lives in new and meaningful ways.”

Research and Development operations for the new technology will be housed in the Tallahassee area to ensure close collaboration between Zheng and General Capacitor, with full production of a commercial product expected in two to three years.

To learn more about FSU’s research commercialization efforts, visit the Office of IP Development and Commercialization.

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