Each day brings a new technical innovations, and the demand for smaller, more portable and more functional electronics. This places pressure on power provides to be light and small, run for long intervals of time (i.e., have lots of energy), and meet the demands of a number of high current loads (i.e., have a high energy capability). Simply put, these calls for can’t be met by anybody portable energy supply.
For decades, batteries have been the wantred storage device for portable electronics, primarily because of their ability to store energy (high energy density). But batteries take a long time to discharge and recharge, which limits their ability to deliver power. Overcoming this energy deficit is difficult, if not unattainable, and even newer battery technologies comparable to lithium ion are still a poor resolution for high power applications. In applications demanding high power, over-engineering the battery will not often be the correct solution, and can typically lead to increased measurement, weight, and cost, and/or reduced cycle life and energy. In different words, a magic bullet is hard to find.
What Makes Supercapacitors Super?
Supercapacitors combine the energy storage properties of batteries with the power discharge characteristics of capacitors.
To achieve their energy density, they include electrodes composed of very high surface area activated carbon, with a molecule-thin layer of electrolyte. Since the quantity of energy able to be stored in a capacitor is proportional to the surface area of the electrode, and inversely proportional to the hole between the electrode and the electrolyte, supercapacitors have a particularly high energy density. They’re due to this fact able to hold a very high electrical charge.
The high power density derives from the fact that the energy is stored as a static charge. Unlike a battery, there isn’t any chemical response required to charge or discharge a supercapacitor, so it might be charged and discharged very quickly (milliseconds to seconds). Similarly, and once more unlike a battery, because there are no chemical reactions going on, the cost-discharge cycle lifetime of a supercapacitor is nearly unlimited.
Cost/Discharge Time: Milliseconds to seconds
Operating Temperature: -forty°C to +85C°
Working Voltage: Aqueous electrolytes ~1V; Organic electrolytes 2 – 3V
Capacitance: 1mF to >10,000F
Working Life: 5,000 to 50,000 hrs (a function of temperature and voltage)
Power Density: 0.01 to 10 kW/kg
Energy Density: 0.05 to 10 Wh/kg
Pulse Load: 0.1 to 100A
Pollution Potential: No heavy metals
Provide peak energy and backup power
Prolong battery run time and battery life
Reduce battery size, weight and price
Enable low/high temperature operation
Improve load balancing when utilized in parallel with a battery
Provide energy storage and supply balancing when used with energy harvesters
Cut pulse current noise
Reduce RF noise by eliminating DC/DC
Minimise area necessities
Meet environmental standards
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