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Maxwell Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: MXWL) reported today that sales of its BOOSTCAP® ultracapacitor products for wind energy applications through the first three quarters of 2010 are running more than 40% ahead of wind-related sales in the same period last year.
The company estimates that more than 13,000 BOOSTCAP-equipped turbines are now in operation worldwide, though the company did not give specific sales figures.
Maxwell said it is supplying BOOSTCAP cells and multi-cell modules to several wind energy system integrators and turbine OEMs in Europe, Asia and North America.
The announcement suggests that Maxwell is finding a new niche for its ultracapacitors in the cleantech sector. In recent years, the company's technology has been touted as a solution for the power needs of electric vehicles. The company signed numerous agreements with developers of electric drives (Continental AG (CON.F), ISE Corp. and battery systems (Johnson Controls-Saft andTianjin Lishen Battery).
Now Maxwell says the ultracapacitors are providing burst power for electrical blade pitch control systems that enhance the consistency of wind turbines' electrical energy output and ensure that rotor speed remains within a safe operating range by constantly adjusting turbine blades to compensate for changes in wind velocity. Ultracapacitors also provide an independent source of backup power for orderly shutdown in the event of a main system power failure and are used to smooth the flow of wind farms' output to the electric utility grid.
An estimated 60% of newly produced wind turbines employ electrical blade pitch systems that incorporate ultracapacitors or batteries for pitch control and backup power, Maxwell said in a release. The remainder employ hydraulic systems that do not require ultracapacitors or batteries.
Maxwell said ultracapacitors have been designed into an increasing share of the electric pitch system portion of the market because of their longer operating lifetime, low maintenance requirements and superior cold weather performance compared with batteries.
Maxwell is a developer and manufacturer of energy storage and power delivery products. The company's BOOSTCAP® ultracapacitor cells and multi-cell modules provide safe and reliable power solutions for applications in consumer and industrial electronics, transportation and telecommunications.
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