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!

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  • 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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