Ultracapacitors Help Forklifts Meet Demand for Efficiency

Typical forms of transportation like buses and cars are not the only ones under scrutiny for releasing harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Forklifts, which use internal combustion engines, also require reduced emissions and enhanced efficiency.

Forklift manufacturers have implemented a variety of technologies in an attempt to improve the overall efficiency of forklift applications, however, most of them have not had success. The short lifespan of batteries has hindered performance in forklifts, requiring the help of other solutions such as ultracapacitors. Since batteries are energy dense but not power dense, and ultracapacitors are power dense, but not energy dense, a combination of the two is an ideal solution for forklifts. Ultracapacitors allow for a lower charge rate, enabling the application to operate at a lower temperature. This decrease in operating temperature results in a longer operating life for the batteries, increasing the system’s efficiency. When combined with batteries, ultracapacitors can enhance forklift performance and lower total energy costs.

Most forklift duty cycles are extremely dynamic, meaning they perform several accelerations that last just a few seconds. These rapid movements allow for the capture of regenerative energy, which ultracapacitors can provide. Ultracapacitors are useful in dynamic systems like this because they work while the forklift is stopped and capture energy that would have otherwise been lost. Then, the ultracapacitor quickly releases the captured energy for the forklift’s re-acceleration or lift action.

Improving the efficiency of electric forklifts is necessary in order to reduce carbon emissions and to continue to green the transportation market. Electric forklift applications are high power and high energy applications that can benefit from a hybridized solution of ultracapacitors and batteries. Ultracapacitors can enhance battery systems, extending the life of the system and helping the forklift to meet the demand of improved efficiency.

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