Developing a New Generation of Supercapacitors

SuperCapacitor Materials Ltd has developed new electrolytes providing capacitance values over 100 times those of conventional electrolytes.

Our electrolytes make possible supercapacitors with greatly increased energy storage capabilities that can surpass conventional batteries. SuperCapacitor Materials Ltd can now assist potential commercial partners to develop a new generation of supercapacitors.

Our Technology

The energy density of a supercapacitor depends on the properties and effective surface area of the electrodes and the properties of the electrolyte.

  • Advantages

  • High charge and discharge rates
    Wide range of operating temperatures
    Long life cycles
  • Disadvantages

  • Low energy densities of approximately 3 – 7 WHr / Kg


SuperCapacitor Materials Ltd has researched and developed new, crosslinked gel electrolytes1 exhibiting measured capacitance values over 100 times those of conventional electrolytes2

These electrolytes are compatible with all materials used in normal production electrodes. They make possible supercapacitors with greatly enhanced specific energy storage capacities. We believe the combination of existing electrodes and our new electrolytes have the potential to create supercapacitors that have energy storage capacities which can approach or exceed existing battery systems.


  1. Patents filed and pending
  2. Electrochemical assessment of Augmented Optics Ltd Polymer Devices. Prof. D Fermin et al, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol, October 2016.


About Us

SuperCapacitor Materials Ltd was established in 2016 to commercialise the development of crosslinked, gel-matrix polymers in supercapacitors from research carried out by Superdielectrics Ltd (formerly Augmented Optics Ltd.)

SuperCapacitor Materials Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Superdielectrics Ltd (formerly Augmented Optics Ltd), a company established to undertake the original Research Programme. The objective of the Research Programme was to develop new, electrically active materials for a number of electric and bio-electric applications. This work was undertaken at the University of Surrey, Guildford, with the assistance of the University of Bristol.

Board of Directors

  • Jim Heathcote

  • CEO
  • Jim Heathcote was the CEO of ITM Power plc from 2003 to 2009. He took the company from start-up to an AIM-listed company in 4 years. He has worked with Dr. Highgate for 15 years.
  • Dr Donald Highgate

  • Director of Research
  • Dr. Highgate has worked with advanced polymers for over 40 years. He led the team that created materials used for extended wear contact lenses. He conceived and developed the materials used by ITM Power plc for use in fuel cells and electrolysers.
  • Nigel Spence, FCA

  • Finance Director
  • Nigel Spence was CFO of Wax Info Limited, a Cambridge University Healthcare spinout from 2000 to 2010, and has his own tax and accountancy practice. He studied chemistry with Jim Heathcote in the 1970s.
  • Ian Wright

  • Non-executive Director
  • Ian Wright is a Commercial, Regulatory and Employment Barrister with more than twenty years’ experience of practice at the Bar. He has a scientific background in Biochemistry.

Latest News

Rolls-Royce links up with UK-based Superdielectrics to explore potential of very high energy storage technology

19 March 2018

Rolls-Royce has signed a collaboration agreement with UK-based technology start-up Superdielectrics Ltd to explore the potential of using polymers with recently discovered remarkable properties to create next generation high energy storage technology.

The agreement will see Rolls-Royce combine its world-class material science and technical expertise with Superdielectrics’ novel hydrophilic polymers that have been shown by Superdielectrics Ltd, in partnership with researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Surrey, to have potentially outstanding energy storage properties.

Dr. Dave Smith, Director of Central Technology, Rolls-Royce, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Superdielectrics Ltd at a time of rapidly-evolving developments in the energy storage industry. We bring deep experience of materials technology and advanced applications that require high energy storage capabilities with controllable rates of recovery.

We believe that electrification will play an increasingly important role in many of our markets over the coming years and by working with partners on potential new technologies for energy storage we can ensure that Rolls-Royce is well positioned to take advantage of new developments.”

Jim Heathcote CEO of Superdielectrics Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be working with Rolls-Royce in the global race to develop advanced energy storage systems. This agreement gives us access to their unparalleled scientific and technical expertise. I hope this agreement will ultimately create new jobs and business opportunities in the UK.”

Working with researchers from the Universities of Bristol and Surrey, Superdielectrics Ltd has been developing  hydrophilic materials, similar to those  originally designed for soft contact lenses, to increase the electricity storage capabilities of capacitors, which store electricity by creating electrostatic fields. These potentially exciting dielectric polymers may provide an opportunity to create capacitors that are able to rival – and even exceed – the storage capacity of traditional rechargeable batteries. The resulting supercapacitors may also be able to charge much faster than existing lithium-ion batteries. The exact terms of the agreement between Rolls-Royce and Superdielectrics remain confidential.

About Superdielectrics Ltd

Superdielectrics Ltd is a material research company that has discovered, in self-funded research with the Universities of Surrey and Bristol, an entirely new group of polymeric superdielectrics. The Company has filed patents on these materials and is commercialising this very significant scientific breakthrough – in supercapacitor electrolyte materials and electrical energy storage. The University of Bristol estimates that these newly discovered materials have dielectric property values which are 1,000-10,000 times greater than conventional electrolyte solutions. This breakthrough offers the prospect of a new energy storage technology that is superior to existing battery technology.  Superdielectrics Ltd’s technology is not limited by rare or expensive elements and potentially has a higher energy density than both Lead Acid and Lithium-ion batteries. Supercapacitors also offer very rapid charge and discharge capabilities.

About Rolls-Royce Holdings plc

  • Rolls-Royce pioneers cutting-edge technologies that deliver the cleanest, safest and most competitive solutions to meet our planet’s vital power needs.
  • Rolls-Royce has customers in more than 150 countries, comprising more than 400 airlines and leasing customers, 160 armed forces, 4,000 marine customers including 70 navies, and more than 5,000 power and nuclear customers.
  • Annual underlying revenue was £13.8 billion in 2016, around half of which came from the provision of aftermarket services. The firm and announced order book stood at £82.7 billion at the end of June 2017.
  • In 2016, Rolls-Royce invested £1.3 billion on research and development. We also support a global network of 31 University Technology Centres, which position Rolls-Royce engineers at the forefront of scientific research.
  • Rolls-Royce employs almost 50,000 people in 50 countries. More than 16,500 of these are engineers.
  • The Group has a strong commitment to apprentice and graduate recruitment and to further developing employee skills. In 2016 we recruited 274 graduates and 327 apprentices through our worldwide training programmes.

Download pdf

For further information, please contact:

Richard Wray
Director of External Communications
Rolls-Royce plc
Tel +44 (0) 7810 850055



Superdielectrics Wins Technology Research Award at CleanEquity® Monaco 2018

Hosted by Innovator Capital – 15th March 2018

CleanEquity® Monaco 2018, the forum for emerging sustainable technology companies, hosted by Innovator Capital and the Monaco Economic Board, closed on Friday, 9th March with the Awards Ceremony in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco.

An independent panel of judges, chaired by His Serene Highness, selected Superdielectrics as the winner of the award for Excellence in the Field of Environmental Technology Research.

Mungo Park, Chairman of Innovator Capital commented: “Science fiction becomes science fact once again. Congratulations to Superdielectrics for pushing the envelope on supercapacitor performance.”

About Superdielectrics Ltd

Superdielectrics is a material research company that has discovered, filed patents and is commercialising a highly significant scientific breakthrough in supercapacitor electrolyte materials and electrical energy storage. The University of Bristol estimates that these newly discovered materials have dielectric property values which are 1,000-10,000 times greater than conventional electrolyte solutions. This breakthrough offers the prospect of a new energy storage technology that is superior to existing battery technology.

Jim Heathcote, CEO of Superdielectrics said: “It is a great honour to receive this award on behalf of Superdielectrics and the scientific teams from Surrey and Bristol Universities whose diligent work has achieved such an important breakthrough. I believe that the CleanEquity Monaco awards are the equivalent to the Oscars for the environmental and scientific community. They have an important role in encouraging and supporting small companies with big dreams.

I would also like to pay tribute to the vision of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and Mungo Park for creating this important annual event more than 10 years ago. They identified that further scientific advances are necessary to achieve a clean and sustainable future for mankind and have created a forum for the most creative young companies to showcase their technology to the world.”

CleanEquity thanks, in particular: Prince Albert II of Monaco’s Foundation, Cohesion Investments, Covington & Burling, Cision, Cranfield University, easyGroup, Hobbs & Towne, the Monaco Economic Board, Parkview, Shell Foundation and STRATIS Impact.

CleanEquity Monaco will be returning to the Principality of Monaco in March 2019.



Alternative to traditional batteries moves a step closer to reality after exciting progress in supercapacitor technology

26th February 2018

Lithium-ion batteries could be under threat after the development of polymer materials by the Universities of Surrey and Bristol, along with Superdielectrics Ltd, that could challenge the dominance of these traditional batteries.

Only one year ago, the partners announced scientific results for novel polymer materials that have dielectric properties 1,000 to 10,000 times greater than existing electrolytes (electrical conductors). These stunning scientific findings have now been converted into ‘device’ scale technical demonstrations.

Researchers from the universities achieved practical capacitance values of up to 4F/cm2 on smooth low-cost metal foil electrodes. Existing supercapacitors on the market typically reach 0.3F/cm2 depending upon complex extended surface electrodes.

More significantly, the researchers managed to achieve results of 11-20F/cm2 when the polymers were used with specially treated stainless-steel electrodes – the details of which are being kept private pending a patent application.

If these values of capacitance can be achieved in production, it could potentially see supercapacitors achieving energy densities of up to 180 WHr/kg – greater than lithium ion batteries.

Supercapacitors store energy using electrodes and electrolytes and both charge and deliver energy quickly – conventional batteries perform the same task in a much slower, more sustained way. Supercapacitors have the ability to charge and discharge rapidly over very large numbers of cycles. However, because existing supercapacitors have poor energy density per kilogramme (currently around one twentieth of existing battery technology), they have been unable to compete with conventional battery energy storage. Even with this restriction, supercapacitor buses are already being used in China, but the current technology means that they need to stop to be recharged frequently (i.e. at almost every bus-stop).

The team of scientists have been able to test the new materials in two ways:

  • By using small single layer cells charged to 1.5 volts for two to five minutes and then run demonstration devices, including a small fan.
  • By using a three-cell series stack that is able to be rapidly charged to five volts and operate an LED.

The University of Bristol is going much further by producing a complex series-parallel cell structure in which both the total capacitance and operating voltage can be separately controlled.

Based on these impressive results, Superdielectrics Ltd, the company behind this technology, is now looking to build a research and low volume production centre. If successful in production, the material could not only be used as a battery for future mobile devices, but could also be used in refuelling stations for electric cars.

Dr Brendan Howlin, Senior Lecturer in Computational Chemistry at the University of Surrey, said: “These results are extremely exciting and it is hard to believe that we have come so far in such a short time. We could be at the start of a new chapter in the technology of low cost electrical energy storage that could shape the future of industry and society for many years to come.”

Dr Donald Highgate, Director of Research for Superdielectrics Ltd and alumnus of the University of Surrey, said: “These exciting results are of particular satisfaction to me because they build upon my work in hydrophilic polymers that has been a major part of my professional life; beginning in the later 1970s with extended wear soft contact lenses, and leading in the period 1990 to 2009, to fuel cells and electrolysers of exceptional efficiency.

“The present work, if it can be translated into production, promises to make rapid charging possible for electric vehicles, as well as offering a much-needed low cost method of storing the transient output from renewable energy systems. Wind, wave and solar energy is available but it is intermittent and, without storage, cannot be relied upon to meet our energy needs. This new work would transform the energy system which underpins our entire way of life – it is the necessary development before we and our children can have a genuinely sustainable, environmentally safe energy supply.”

Dr Ian Hamerton, Reader in Polymers and Composite Materials from the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Bristol, commented: “Following the unveiling of the preliminary results at the first press conference just 14 months ago, the team has worked hard to increase the storage capability of these innovative materials still further. Our foremost challenge is now to translate these scientific findings into robust engineered devices and unlock their revolutionary potential.”



Scientific breakthrough reveals unprecedented alternative to battery power storage

6th December 2016

  • Major scientific breakthrough research has discovered new materials offering an alternative to battery power proven to be between 1,000-10,000 times more powerful than the existing battery alternative – a supercapacitor.
  • The new technology is believed to have the potential for electric cars to travel to similar distances as petrol cars without the need to stop for lengthy re-charging breaks of between 6-8 hours, and instead re-charge fully in the time it takes to fill a regular car with petrol.
  • The scientific findings made by Augmented Optics Ltd and its wholly owned subsidiary Supercapacitor Materials Ltd with the University of Surrey and University of Bristol have produced a safer, faster charging, more efficient and greener alternative to battery power and supercapacitor abilities as we currently know them.

Ground-breaking research from the University of Surrey and Augmented Optics Ltd., in collaboration with the University of Bristol, has developed potentially transformational technology which could revolutionise the capabilities of appliances that have previously relied on battery power to work.

This development by Augmented Optics Ltd., could translate into very high energy density super-capacitors making it possible to recharge your mobile phone, laptop or other mobile devices in just a few seconds.

The technology could have a seismic impact across a number of industries, including transport, aerospace, energy generation, and household applications such as mobile phones, flat screen electronic devices, and biosensors.  It could also revolutionise electric cars, allowing the possibility for them to recharge as quickly as it takes for a regular non-electric car to refuel with petrol – a process that currently takes approximately 6-8 hours to recharge.  Imagine, instead of an electric car being limited to a drive from London to Brighton, the new technology could allow the electric car to travel from London to Edinburgh without the need to recharge, but when it did recharge for this operation to take just a few minutes to perform.

Supercapacitor buses are already being used in China, but they have a very limited range whereas this technology could allow them to travel a lot further between recharges.  Instead of recharging every 2-3 stops this technology could mean they only need to recharge every 20-30 stops and that will only take a few seconds.

Elon Musk, of Tesla and SpaceX, has previously stated his belief that supercapacitors are likely to be the technology for future electric air transportation.  We believe that the present scientific advance could make that vision a reality.

The technology was adapted from the principles used to make soft contact lenses, which Dr Donald Highgate (of Augmented Optics, and an alumnus of the University of Surrey) developed following his postgraduate studies at Surrey 40 years ago.  Supercapacitors, an alternative power source to batteries, store energy using electrodes and electrolytes and both charge and deliver energy quickly, unlike conventional batteries which do so in a much slower, more sustained way. Supercapacitors have the ability to charge and discharge rapidly over very large numbers of cycles.  However, because of their poor energy density per kilogramme (approximately just one twentieth of existing battery technology), they have, until now, been unable to compete with conventional battery energy storage in many applications.

Dr Brendan Howlin of the University of Surrey, explained: “There is a global search for new energy storage technology and this new ultra capacity supercapacitor has the potential to open the door to unimaginably exciting developments.”

The ground-breaking research programme was conducted by researchers at the University of Surrey’s Department of Chemistry where the project was initiated by Dr Donald Highgate of Augmented Optics Ltd.  The research team was co-led by the Principal Investigators Dr Ian Hamerton and Dr Brendan Howlin.  Dr Hamerton continues to collaborate on the project in his new post at the University of Bristol, where the electrochemical testing to trial the research findings was carried out by fellow University of Bristol academic – David Fermin, Professor of Electrochemistry in the School of Chemistry.

Dr Ian Hamerton, Reader in Polymers and Composite Materials from the Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Bristol said:  “While this research has potentially opened the route to very high density supercapacitors, these *polymers have many other possible uses in which tough, flexible conducting materials are desirable, including bioelectronics, sensors, wearable electronics, and advanced optics.  We believe that this is an extremely exciting and potentially game changing development.”

*the materials are based on large organic molecules composed of many repeated sub-units and bonded together to form a 3-dimensional network.

Jim Heathcote, Chief Executive of both Augmented Optics Ltd and Supercapacitor Materials Ltd, said: “It is a privilege to work with the teams from the University of Surrey and the University of Bristol.  The test results from the new polymers suggest that extremely high energy density supercapacitors could be constructed in the very near future.  We are now actively seeking commercial partners in order to supply our polymers and offer assistance to build these ultra high energy density storage devices.”

NOTES FOR EDITOR:  For interview requests with the University of Surrey or Augmented Optics Ltd/Supercapacitor Materials Ltd please contact Ashley Lovell on 01483 686141 or email

For interview requests with the University of Bristol please contact Joanne Fryer on 0117 331 7276, mobile 07747 768804 or email

About Augmented Optics Ltd/Supercapacitor Materials Ltd

Augmented Optics Ltd was incorporated 3 years ago to research and develop new electronically conducting polymers. The Company has commissioned research at the University of Surrey and an evaluation programme at Bristol University that has generated important new materials with potentially valuable commercial properties. It was founded by Dr Donald Highgate, Jim Heathcote and Nigel Spence. Dr Highgate and Jim Heathcote have worked together on advanced polymers and energy technology for 15 years. The company has been funded by a number of investors expert in the support and exploitation of new technologies.

In light of the recent discovery of ‘high capacitance’ polymers that may be ready for immediate commercialisation a wholly owned subsidiary Supercapacitor Materials Ltd was registered and has the website

About the University of Surrey

The University of Surrey is one of the UK’s top higher education institutions and was recognised as the University of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. With 125 years of academic heritage since our founding in Battersea, and 50 years of world-class teaching and research in Guildford, the University of Surrey is the intellectual home for more than 15,200 students, 100,000 alumni and 2,800 staff.

Freedom of thought, pursuit of academic excellence, and the advancement and application of knowledge underpin the wonderful things happening here. Our mission is to transform lives and enrich society through outstanding teaching and learning, pioneering research and impactful innovation.

The University of Surrey has been recognised by three Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Further and Higher Education and is a destination of choice for higher learning in subjects ranging from Engineering to the Arts. As a global university, we are proud of our strong partnerships with internationally leading institutions and businesses, while being firmly engaged with our local community in Guildford and Surrey. We are committed to educating the next generation of professionals and leaders, and to providing thought leadership and innovation to address global challenges and contribute to a better tomorrow for the world.

About the University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK. It was ranked within the top 50 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2016. The University of Bristol is ranked among the top five institutions in the UK for its research, according to new analysis of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, and is the 4th most targeted university by top UK employers

Bristol is a member of the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities, and a member of the Worldwide Universities Network, a grouping of research-led institutions of international standing.

The University was founded in 1876 and was granted its Royal Charter in 1909.  It was the first university in England to admit women on the same basis as men.

The University is a major force in the economic, social and cultural life of Bristol and the region, but is also a significant player on the world stage. It has over 16,000 undergraduates and nearly 6,000 postgraduate students from more than 100 countries, and its research links span the globe.

Thirteen Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel Prizes, including Sir Winston Churchill who was Chancellor of the University of Bristol from 1929 until 1965.



Press Coverage

Superdielectrics Ltd

PDF of Investor / Press Presentation 26th February 2018


A fluke breakthrough could be the missing link for an electric car age


Fancy charging up your electric car in 10 minutes?

My Science

Alternative to traditional batteries moves a step closer to reality after exciting progress in supercapacitor technology

Yahoo Finance

Energy storage breakthrough could boost EV range and slash charge time

Clean Technica

Supercapacitor Research Promises 10 Minute Charging Times For 200+ Mile Range


Why Lithium ETF Plunged to Start the Week?

The Guardian

Energy storage leap could slash electric car charging times

The Daily Express

Power to our homes and transport: super BATTERY revolution moves closer after new findings

The Engineer

UK supercapacitor results suggest challenge to battery technologies


Contact Lens Technology Could Revolutionize Electric Vehicles

Daily Mail

New batteries are 10,000x more powerful and fully recharge in seconds

Daily Express

END OF BATTERIES: Huge breakthrough means you’ll be able to charge your phone in SECONDS

Electronics Weekly

Surrey University develops super-supercapacitor


EVs could be fully charged ‘in seconds’ following supercapacitor revolution

The Engineer

Supercapacitors to result from research to link prosthetics to nervous system


Supercapacitor breakthrough suggests EVs could charge in seconds but with a trade-off


Over 60 private investors back Superdielectrics Ltd: they have seen our potential and wish to be part of it.

If you are interested in becoming an investor please introduce yourself via email.

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