Italian car maker Automobili Lamborghini has worked with local lab programme of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to patent a synthetic material that will serve as the basis for a new generation of higher performance supercapacitor.
The collaboration began three years ago when Automobili Lamborghini joined the MIT-Italy Program with two research projects, one with Professor Mircea Dincă from MIT's Department of Chemistry and Professor John Anastasios Hart at MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering.
The material was synthesized by Professor Mircea Dincă’s team in the laboratories of MIT’s Chemistry Department with the support of Automobili Lamborghini’s Concept Development Department, and it is based on a Metal-Organic Framework. This is suitable for electrodes for a high performance supercapacitor as it maximises the specific surface area exposed to electric charge in relation to the mass and volume of the sample. The material doubles the energy density of a supercapacitor.
A second, three-year collaboration with Professor John Anastasios Hart and his team in the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department aims to establish new design principles for high-performance battery materials that can be integrated into the vehicle structure. The project will result in battery prototypes that provide a combination of energy storage performance, geometric versatility, and structural integrity that is critical to the performance targets set by the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio.
In parallel with the laboratory work, the partnership with the MIT-Italy program has given two MIT students the chance to gain work experience at Automobili Lamborghini, by working on the development of the composites’ specifications and the mathematical modelling of the supercapacitors’ conducting properties. As a result Lamborghini has extended its collaboration with the MIT-Italy program until the end of 2020. Further research will explore additional optimization of the properties of the material, and its production on an increasingly larger scale.