A metal oxide-carbon composite includes a carbon aerogel with an oxide overcoat. The metal oxide-carbon composite is made by providing a carbon aerogel, immersing the carbon aerogel in a metal oxide sol under a vacuum, raising the carbon aerogel with the metal oxide sol to atmospheric pressure, curing the carbon aerogel with the metal oxide sol at room temperature, and drying the carbon aerogel with the metal oxide sol to produce the metal oxide-carbon composite. The step of providing a carbon aerogel can provide an activated carbon aerogel or provide a carbon aerogel with carbon nanotubes that make the carbon aerogel mechanically robust.
STATEMENT AS TO RIGHTS TO INVENTIONS MADE UNDER FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC52-07NA27344 between the United States Department of Energy and Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.