Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Chemical Engineering


Tony Neal Rogers


Bahne C Cornilsen


Electrochemical capacitors (ECs), also known as supercapacitors or ultracapacitors, are energy storage devices with properties between batteries and conventional capacitors. EC have evolved through several generations. The trend in EC is to combine a double-layer electrode with a battery-type electrode in an asymmetric capacitor configuration. The double-layer electrode is usually an activated carbon (AC) since it has high surface area, good conductivity, and relatively low cost. The battery-type electrode usually consists of PbO2 or Ni(OH)2.

In this research, a graphitic carbon foam was impregnated with Co-substituted Ni(OH)2 using electrochemical deposition to serve as the positive electrode in the asymmetric capacitor. The purpose was to reduce the cost and weight of the ECs while maintaining or increasing capacitance and gravimetric energy storage density. The XRD result indicated that the nickel-carbon foam electrode was a typical α-Ni(OH)2. The specific capacitance of the nickel-carbon foam electrode was 2641 F/g at 5 mA/cm2, higher than the previously reported value of 2080 F/g for a 7.5% Al-substituted α-Ni(OH)2 electrode.

Three different ACs (RP-20, YP-50F, and Ketjenblack EC-600JD) were evaluated through their morphology and electrochemical performance to determine their suitability for use in ECs. The study indicated that YP-50F demonstrated the better overall performance because of the combination of micropore and mesopore structures. Therefore, YP-50F was chosen to combine with the nickel-carbon foam electrode for further evaluation.

Six cells with different mass ratios of negative to positive active mass were fabricated to study the electrochemical performance. Among the different mass ratios, the asymmetric capacitor with the mass ratio of 3.71 gave the highest specific energy and specific power, 24.5 W.h/kg and 498 W/kg, respectively.