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  • Ultracapacitors 0 comments
    Mar 25, 2010 11:01 AM

    The progress which has been made recently in ultracapacitors has been rather obscured by the fuss of claim and counter claim surrounding EESTOR, who for years have been 'just about' to release a much more energy dense capacitor to revolutionize the field.
    I am going to look at other companies here, and some of the increases in performance likely as stuff goes from the lab to the real world.
    What do ultracapacitors bring to the energy storage party that batteries don't?
    *The ability to be charged/discharged ~a million times, as agianst a few undred or thousand for an advanced lithium or NiMH battery.
    *They can deliver the power much, much quicker
    *Performance down to -40C hardly degrades
    Problems of ultracapacitors
    *Low energy density- they weigh a lot more for the energy stored - this looks set to go up by 5-10 times in the next few years.
    *They give off heat- design has to dissapate this.
    *Cost - again, good progress is being made
    Use in stop/start cars and  hybrids
    Starting a car uses a lot of power delivered quickly, and if the engine stops at every traffic light has to be done menay times a day.
    This makes it ideal for capacitors and very difficult for batteries, especially lead acid.
    A lead-acid battery would need to be 25kg, and would not last long.
    Similar considerations also apply to regenerative braking, and extra boost for acceleration.
    Working either alone or in conjunction with batteries capacitors can greatly reduce the needed power of the battery and increase their life.
    Peugeot and Valeo are building stop/start cars now, with a target of 1 million vehicles in 2011.
    They hope to make a plug in hybrid by 2013, with capacitors greatly reducing the lithium batteries needed.
    Valeo are to produce a capacitor-based stop/start for another European manufacturer for release in 2011
    GM and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US have also concluded that capacitors for mild hybrid can significantly reduce weight.
    The Toyota Prius already uses ultracapacitors.
    Continental AG is putting them into a stop/start system for a major European manufacturer
    Use in buses
    There are already hundreds of buses using $15,000 of capacitors each in use in California, provided by ISE
    China is moving to build 13,000 buses using capacitors.
    Use in Windturbines
    Enercon uses capacitors in it's wind turbines  
    Schramm estimated that there is $5000 worth of ultracaps in the typical windmill.
    This is because they don't need changing, unlike batteries, which is very expensive in a very tall tower, and will be vital for any off-shore turbines.
    Companies making Capacitors
    Maxwell, NEC Tokin, Panasonic, Seiko Instruments, and many more.

    Disclosure: No positions

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