Ultracaps 101: Selecting the right solution

So, let’s go back to basics.

You’re looking at energy storage solutions, and you need to brush up on your technology options. It’s time to study the ultracap.

What is an ultracapacitor?
Ultracapacitors, like all capacitors, have a high power density. What differentiates ultracapacitors from their traditional counterparts, electrolytic capacitors, is their high energy density, allowing them to store a vast amount of energy in a small package.

Why do engineers choose ultracapacitors?
The capacitors with which most design engineers are familiar have short time constants, which means their voltage cycles quickly. By contrast, ultracapacitor arrays have time constants of the order of tens of seconds to minutes. The large capacitance and extremely low frequency time constants allow ultracapacitors to be used in applications that have not been practical or economical for other types of capacitors.

While ultracapacitors store a large amount of charge, they are still well below the energy density of storage batteries. There are not many situations in which an ultracapacitor solution can replace a battery outright; however, since ultracapacitors have a much lower internal resistance and much faster charge rate than batteries, they can make a battery-powered system run far more efficiently.

Who does the ultracap benefit?
Here’s a common example of how ultracaps boost battery performance and benefit applications. If you pair an ultracapacitor with the starter battery for an internal combustion engine (ICE), for instance, you solve one of the most persistent problems faced by the green automotive industry.

Starter batteries are typically sized for starting ICEs in 0°F conditions, but drivers in much of the U.S. and the world must crank their cars on far colder mornings for at least part of the year. An ultracapacitor can work down to -40°F with little increase in its internal resistance, making the combination of battery and ultracapacitor a robust power source even at low temperatures.

Let’s Review
In general, the use of an ultracapacitor in combination with a battery is an excellent way to increase the overall power density of the power source and decrease the strain on the battery. Where energy storage with high-peak power is required, it is likely an ultracapacitor device will be useful.

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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