Ultracapacitors 101

Our first installment will serve as a simple explanation of ultracapacitor technology: what it is and how it works. In simplest terms, an ultracapacitor is a portable energy storage device.

An ultracapacitor stores energy in an electric field, as opposed to batteries, which store energy chemically. The difference means that ultracapacitors can complete hundreds of thousands more charge and discharge cycles than batteries because they do not experience the standard wear and tear associated with chemical reactions. Ultracapacitors, therefore, last much longer than batteries.

To better explain how ultracapacitors store their energy, we need to examine their structure. Fundamentally, ultracapactiors are two metal plates coated in activated carbon and then immersed in an electrolyte and isolated from each other by a separator. When you add a voltage, such as when charging, an electric field develops, which is how ultracapacitors store energy. A simple explanation for the process is below:

When charging:
• Ions from the electrolyte gather on the surface of the two metal plates
• A charge (positive or negative) builds on each plate
• Each plate attracts ions of the opposite charge

When discharging:
• Ions are no longer as strongly attracted to the plates
• Ions distribute themselves through the electrolyte
• Charge on the plates decreases
There you have it – a plain English explanation for how an ultracapacitor works. We’ll be adding much more information throughout the course of the series; let us know what you think on Twitter!

Latest News

  • IOXUS' uSTART® Receives Edison Award for its Engine Enhancement Innovation

    Ioxus, designers and manufacturers of smart power solutions based on its widely used ultracapacitor technology, today announced that it was named a Bronze winner in the Engine Enhancement category of the 2018 Edison Awards. The announcement was made at the Edison Awards Gala in New York City.

    “We are very proud to have received an internationally recognized Edison Award and to be named a winner alongside companies like Mazda Motor Corporation and CFM International, a joint company of GE and Safran Group, for our engine enhancement achievements,” said Mark McGough, CEO and president of Ioxus, Inc. “This award is recognition that uSTART is proving highly reliable and valuable for fleets in the trucking industry. Being recognized with an Edison Award is one of the highest accolades we can receive in the name of innovation.”

    Inspired by Thomas Edison’s persistence and inventiveness, the Edison Awards are judged by a panel of more than 3,000 leading business executives, including past award winners, academics and leaders in the fields of product development, design and engineering. The judges recognize products as true innovations in their category.

    In addition to the Awards Gala, the annual Edison Awards program encompassed a full-day, “Meet the Innovators Forum” and the, “Innovators’ Showcase,” which offered guests a hands-on experience with read more...

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