Ultracapacitors Greening Automotive Supply Chain

Major environmental and economic events over the past 10 years have made the interest in greener vehicles a significant motivator for the automotive industry. A growing number of consumers care about the environmental impact of their cars. Even more care about the strain oil-dependence puts on their wallets. The general public looks at dealer lots to identify trends in greener vehicles, but manufacturers, designers and engineers know that that the real shift in energy production and storage is taking place along the auto supply chain.

Manufacturers are designing systems that focus on efficiency, using hybrid power plants that consist of an internal combustion engine operating in concert with a battery bank or a fuel cell. Such hybrid power plants employ energy harvesting systems that take advantage of energy that is otherwise wasted, such as the heat that is dissipated in the braking system of a car.

Such systems rely on ultracapacitors to store an immense amount of energy and deliver a response time far faster than a battery. The use of a battery alone in a regenerative braking system, for example, would severely limit the amount of energy that could be stored due to the slow charging rate of the battery. However, this problem is eliminated using ultracapacitors, as the rate of charge is rapid, allowing the amount of regenerative energy stored to be much greater.

Ioxus ultracapacitors are used in these systems, as well as in the starter battery of traditional cars and the battery packs of electric cars. Our technology represents one of many engineering advances turning the automobile, and by extension the automotive supply chain, more green. Here’s an example.

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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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