Join us for Part 4 of 4 in the Richardson RFPD “A Walk Around the Block” webinar series. This series focuses on energy storage systems – leveraging the components to enable higher performance and lower system costs.
Supercapacitors are not new. First developed in the 1950s, commercial versions were marketed over 40 years ago. At that time, supercapacitors were certainly not on a fast track to practical application. They were expensive, had quite low operating voltages, and were outperformed by other, more economical approaches.
Their capabilities and performance have greatly improved, with higher operating voltages, capacitance, and ability to retain a charge. In many applications, they are now the approach of choice. While most engineers have a basic understanding of supercapacitors, relatively few have put them to use. So it is helpful to discuss the applications that best fit supercapacitors and the pluses and minuses of the technology vs. batteries or in combination with batteries.
Lithium-ion battery technology continues to dominate global markets and will for the foreseeable future. But alternative energy storage technologies like supercapacitors are becoming more accepted as safe, scalable, efficient, and sustainable options.
Supercapacitors have clear advantages over batteries as they have a wide operating temperature range, as well as short charge and discharge times. The short charge/discharge times arise because of their minimal internal resistance. They can be cycled hundreds of thousands, if not a million times. It is also safer to store energy in an electric field instead of chemically, thus eliminating the risk of thermal events. All in all, supercapacitors have a service life of between 10-15 years.
Supercapacitors have become a good source of backup power for Internet-enabled wireless data terminal products. In the automotive industry, they support innovative analytics, business intelligence, driver identification, location, and data management. Supercapacitors extend device connectivity by providing highly reliable power to capture and transmit real-time data if the device is unexpectedly disconnected.
In another recent application, CDE worked with a manufacturer of barcode scanners for use in point of sale (POS) systems. These handheld scanners incorporate power-consumption management to prolong overall battery life, provide last-gasp functions and battery “hot-swap” support.
In summary, supercapacitors deliver rapid, reliable bursts of power over hundreds of thousands to millions of duty cycles – even in demanding conditions. Supercapacitors are candidates for applications ranging from wind turbines and mass transit to hybrid vehicles, IoT, consumer electronics, smart meters, telematics, and industrial equipment.
- See how Supercapacitors and SC Modules are an option for electronic designers in most battery applications.
- Learn that Supercapacitors and SC Modules have expanded quickly into industrial and commercial applications, to improve the life of batteries or replace them.
- Discover that Supercapacitors and SC Modules very rarely need to be replaced or repaired, unlike batteries.