Ultracapacitors 101: Continuation of: What Do Those Words We’re Using Even Mean?

We have had two previous discussions for the terms used in the ultracapacitor arena, providing an overview of how the technology works and defining some of the terms. This blog post is a continuation of the definition of terms in an effort to create a glossary of key terms in the ultracapacitor space. Understanding the technology helps, but you won’t be able to compare products without a clear understanding of the related terminology.

Check out the definitions of must-know ultracapactior terms below and tweet us @ioxus with your questions. Don’t forget to also let us know what you think of this series and offer suggestions for other topics.

Module: in discussion of ultracapacitors, a module is a self-contained assembly of several cells, which can be installed as a unit. Many applications require higher voltages than what is offered by a single cell, so modules are often used for an easier installation process. Modules also contain cell balancing, which ensures that each cell shares a very similar voltage as its neighbor, allowing for longer product life.

Energy Density: the amount of energy stored per unit of volume. Energy density is often measured in Megajoules (MJ) per kilogram or in terms of watts (Whr).

Power Density: the amount of power per unit of volume. Power density combines energy density with the speed at which the energy can be delivered to the load. Due to their physical structure, ultracapacitors have a much higher power density than batteries – around 10-100 times larger. Power is often measured in Kilowatts (KW) or Megawatts (MW) per kilogram.

Equivalent Series Resistance: resistance in an electrical conductor. As we see with ultracapacitors, this is the force that opposes the passage of an electric current through the conductor. The lower the equivalent series resistance, or ESR, of an ultracapacitor, the more efficiently a capacitor can charge or discharge while creating lower heat.

Thermal Resistance: a measurement used to determine the heat generation during a cycle within the ultracapacitor.

Endurance: there are two types of endurance measured relating to ultracapacitors:
• Capacitance Endurance measures the maximum capacitance change expected if the ultracapacitor were to operate at the upper operational limitations outlined for the particular product.
• Resistance Endurance measures the maximum resistance change if the ultracapacitor were to operate under the same conditions.

Cell Balancing: the process that reduces the voltage spread in cells. Voltage spread is natural, the result of one of several factors, including an imbalance in leakage currents, an imbalance in capacitance or an imbalance in power losses from ESR. This balancing process ensures a long cycle life for the ultracapacitor.

Leakage Currents: the small amount of discharge from an ultracapacitor, resulting from variations in materials and manufacturing. This discharge over time can result in a voltage spread, which, in some cases, is significant.

Inductance: the process by which a change in current in a conductor creates a voltage in both the conductor and in nearby conductors. Ultracapacitors have low inductance, which enables the ultracapacitor to have a very high power density and a fast rise time, which is simply the time it takes to change from a low voltage value to a high voltage value.

Latest News

  • Ioxus uSTART® Battery Replacement for Heavy Equipment Increases Starting Reliability

    ONEONTA, N.Y., April 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Ioxus, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitors and energy storage products, announced today that the 24V uSTART® battery support system is now being offered as the heavy equipment industry's only drop-in replacement product that needs no special wiring. Using two group 31 batteries in series, with one 24V uSTART in parallel, users can replace their 4D battery in heavy equipment.

    The ultracapacitor-based product is designed with smart power electronics to assist in starting engines up to 50L for large off-road equipment.  Using the available Smartphone Bluetooth app, once the uSTART is connected to the batteries, users can look at the voltage of the batteries, the charge level of uSTART, initiate a jump start without connecting any wires, or put the unit into maintenance mode for safe removal or repairs.

    The goal of the uSTART system is to provide the vehicle with a start, no matter the condition of the existing batteries or external temperature. If the batteries run too low duread more...

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