You might think the smell of an electrolytic capacitor boiling out is bad, but if scientists from the University of Sydney have their way, that might be nothing. They’ve devised an ultracapacitor — that uses biomass from the stinky durian fruit along with jackfruit. We assume the capacitors don’t stink in normal use, but we wouldn’t want to overload one and let the smoke out.
One of the things we found interesting about this is that the process seemed like something you might be able to reproduce in a garage. Sure, there were a few exotic steps like using a vacuum oven and a furnace with nitrogen, and you’d need some ability to handle chemicals like vinylidene fluoride. However, the hacker community has found ways to create lots of things with common tools, and we would imagine creating aerogels from some fruit ought not be out of reach.
Not to spoil the surprise, but the stinky durian fruit had better power density. The paper claims that the performance is mainly due to the gels having a large surface area and porous structures along with the presence of pyridinic and graphitic nitrogen. The material outperforms several other organic capacitors as well as graphene nanosheets. That information, by the way, is buried in the supplement to the paper if you would like to see the comparison table.