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

Now that we’ve discussed the mechanics of an ultracapacitor, providing an overview of how the technology works, we thought it would be helpful 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.

“Electric Double Layer Capacitor” Or “Supercapacitor”: simply other terms for ultracapacitor. Recall from our previous post that ultracapacitors differ from capacitors due to the fact that they are coated in activated carbon. The coating results in each electrode having two layers of charge on its surface, which explains the “double layer” description.

Capacitance: a key metric when sizing a capacitor system, capacitance is the measurement of the device’s ability to store an electric charge and is generally measured in Farads (see Farad).

Farad: the unit of measurement for capacitance. In precise terms, a Farad is the unit of charge a capacitor will accept for the potential across it to change 1 volt. (1 Farad = 1 Coulomb/Volt)

Surface Area: capacitance is directly proportional to surface area. The activated carbon coating discussed above increases the surface area of an ultracapacitor 10,000 to 100,000 times that of a simple metal sheet, thus increasing capacitance significantly.

Voltage: the electrical potential difference between two points. In simpler terms, the voltage is the total amount of energy required to move a charge divided by the magnitude of the charge. There are several voltage measurements associated with ultracapacitors:
• Voltage refers to the maximum operating voltage for an individual ultracapacitor
• Rated voltage indicates the voltage at which all performance testing was conducted
• Surge voltage is the maximum voltage that an ultracapacitor can operate at for a few seconds without causing damage or cells to open

Please be sure to check out our blog next week, where we continue to provide the definition of terms for the ultracapacitor technology.

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  • uSTART® Lead-Free Replacement for Truck Batteries

    ONEONTA, N.Y.Jan. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Ioxus uSTART® has received two fleet industry awards for sustainability by eliminating lead-acid batteries with its ultracapacitor-based, drop-in battery replacement.

    "With uSTART, fleets not only realize the benefits of improved starting reliability, there are equally important and real sustainability improvements from lead waste reduction," said Chad Hall, executive vice president and co-founder of Ioxus. "By replacing one of the batteries on a vehicle with a uSTART module, up to 15 fewer batteries are needed over the lifetime of the vehicle. This translates into 1,000 pounds of lead that will never need to be disposed of or allowed to affect groundwater."

    EU legislation on batteries is embodied in the European Battery Directive.  Its objective is to contribute to the preservation and improvement of environmental quality by minimizing the negative impact of batteries and battery waste.  As these preservation efforts expand, sustainable technologies develop to manage and mitigate these risks.

    Replacing a lead-acid battery with uSTART in a typical commercial vehicle creates measurable environmental benefits:

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