Ultracaps may be the future Battery!

Discussion in 'Electric Bicycles' started by slickdude, May 29, 2012.

  1. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Okay, I read about this technology. It has over 1 million charge cycles and an immense amount of power in a very small package. I can easily see Ultracaps powering everything depending on charging times of course. Anyhow here is the link for the article on it. I hope they get them for bikes soon :) Would be nice to have a 35mph 200 mile range bike per charge.


    Additional bike uses and tests:


    Check out this ebike charging ultracaps

    Check out this page with links on ultracaps.
    Last edited: May 29, 2012

  2. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    I'd heard about them before, but this got me interested in taking a closer look.

    Ultra-capacitors aren't really suitable to replace batteries; while they have can store lots of energy and release it quickly, their energy density is less than lithium ion batteries (but greater than SLA batteries.)

    They also have issues dealing with their discharge characteristics; the voltage drops steadily over time, unlike batteries, which stay fairly constant until they near their capacity, then start dropping rapidly. Since each ultracap has a low maximum voltage, they must be used in series, which cuts the storage capacity of the capacitor as a whole. For instance, if you want to store 12V in an ultra-capacitor 'pack', using the 3000 farad UTs mentioned in the article, you would need to place 5 in series, which reduces the capacitance of the pack as a whole to 600 farads. Then charge this pack to 12 volts. If you then pull 10 amp out of the pack, in 12 minutes, the voltage has dropped to 4.44V, and in another 12 minutes, it has dropped to 1.6 volts.

    Since the output voltage steadily drops as the cap discharges, you need buck-boost regulators to convert the output voltage from the ultracaps into the steady voltage needed for most loads, which limits the efficiency to about 70%.

    What is more likely, is that designers will start using ultracaps in conjunction with lithium ion batteries in a hybrid system, using the ultracapacitor packs (ultrapacks) for quick storage and quick release power needs (with lower losses, compared to the chemical reaction losses associated with batteries.)

    Regenerative braking, for instance, would be a great use for them; power is stored in the ultrapack as you brake or go downhill, then released from the ultrapack during acceleration. This means that your li-ion batteries aren't being asked to supply the heavy currents during acceleration (most of the time,) but instead, can be sized more towards the 'average' loads.
    libranskeptic likes this.
  3. Cavi Mike

    Cavi Mike Member

    loquin is spot on. Capacitors also don't like over-voltage. Batteries will dissipate over-voltage as heat and still maintain voltage and stability. A 12v car battery actually holds a pretty steady charge at closer to 13v but the cars electrical system charges even higher, closer to 14v. Batteries can handle this steady over-voltage just fine but a capacitor will just keep charging right past its peak voltage and destroy itself.

    Like the article said, capacitors store energy in a much different way and because of this, they have much different uses and will never be a replacement for a battery.
  4. loquin

    loquin Active Member

    Well, the 'pack' the article mentions has incorporated the overvoltage protection internally; as well as the charge circuitry, and possibly the output voltage boost circuitry as well, to make the pack more like a battery in its application. Still, I think its use is going to be limited to specific areas within electric vehicle applications, like handling the surge currents encountered in acceleration and deceleration.

    Since they CAN sink and source huge currents with minimal losses, this would be an ideal application for them. And, their relatively high internal leakage wouldn't be an issue in a short-term storage application like this.
  5. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Very cool if we could use it for ebikes especially with long range and the fast charge.
  6. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    The regen braking with capacitors reminds me of some of the things they were doing in Formula 1 racing.
  7. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    A Texas company says it is the first that can have ultracaps that hold a charge like batteries but recharge in a few minutes with a much greater energy capacity. Will be interesting to see if these really do replace gas and current battery technologies as they are making a claim.
  8. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    Thankfully Formula 1 has been the main driver in developing very compact capacitive charge/discharge batteries with stonkingly fast charge times and energy storage.

    The next development curve to be introduced into Formula 1 is thermal energy recovery systems, being charge current created directly from exhaust heat. We should start to see this new technology implemented on base model vehicles within 10 - 12 years as global mass transportation of (enclosed) single occupant vehicles significantly downsizes due to ever escalating fuel costs. The hybrid turbo charged 1 litre engine with thermal energy recovery systems and braking energy recovery systems will become the norm.
  9. wheelbender6

    wheelbender6 Well-Known Member

    They are also doing some interesting things in auto endurance racing, like the LeMans series. I think the endurance racers are focusing more on alt fuels, rather than electricity.
  10. Ludwig II

    Ludwig II Member

    There will also be some crossover from heavy diesel technology, where a turbo places power back into the system as well as improving the engine's efficiency.
  11. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Possibly, but it seems that with recharge times of around 3 minutes and the fact that cells can be daisy chained for very long ranges, it might not be necessary. Consider, a car that can go from L.A. to New York on a single charge then take a three minute recharge and head back west again. Then you have ebikes with a range say of two thousand miles or more on a single 3 minute charge. A Texas company claims patents for such and says it is very close to licensing out this technology. People have said well the oil companies won't let it happen. I am not so sure. Remember that recent studies indicate that refined petrol for travel is only about 12 to 18 percent of oil usage. Oil is used for many more items such as for example, plastic products etc.
  12. Fabian

    Fabian Well-Known Member

    You hit the nail square on the head.
    If everyone switched to electric powered vehicles tomorrow and not one more drop of petrol/gasoline was purchased by the public or industry, the oil refineries would burn off petrol in flare stacks.

    Just about every material item that you touch in life has petro-chemical ingredients; from bitumen to cosmetics.
    Without hydrocarbons, life goes back to the horse and cart, not to mention whale and seal oil for heating, lighting and lubricants. If the green movement got what they wanted, they'ed have to fuel their anti-whaling ships with whale oil bio-fuel.
  13. grinningremlin

    grinningremlin Active Member

    Yes sir, until they come up with a natural ag based lube, it will be crude that greases EVERYTHING!There is a windmill farm put up near my place, thanks to our dictator,... I mean president.It has no energy use, they put it up before even putting up lines/substations, they just sit and spin.I read they each take 5 to 7 gallons of grease every month!!The green movement is largely city people making rules without any idea how life is lived in the country, BUT if they come up with something that has the range/weight/power of my little EH035 I'd be all over it, anything to slow the progress of this tinnitus.
  14. Dankoozy

    Dankoozy Member

    I have a 5.11 ultracapacitor flashlight and also a few loose 100F 2.7V caps. Tis impressive stuff alright although the energy density isn't quite there yet. The caps would heat up a bit of steel wire till its red/orange hot, I need to buy a few more of them so I can use them instead of a battery for the 30w solar panel I installed a few weeks ago. A hybrid electric / petrol bike would be an interesting piece of machine as well. I actually hate battery tech because it wears out so quick so hopefully the newer high density supercaps will make their way onto the market soon. Even at half the energy density of Lead Acid (15wh/kg) it would take off I reckon, it would be enough to make them suitable for starting cars
  15. fm2200

    fm2200 Member

    The electronic high tech is probably the fastest growing of all industries. Apple is one of those companies where they are so aggressive they can't wait to upgrade there last ipad or iphone. These ultracaps sound really promising, with all the rival competiton it will be diffucult to be the first to get that to market. I hope it becomes the next great innovation, I read in another article about nano science becoming the future of medicine.
  16. Dankoozy

    Dankoozy Member

    Apple will be just about the last company to switch to ultracapacitors I'd say. They pioneered the idea of installing batteries that can't be removed without a painful opening the case and desoldering the battery procedure. Their business thrives on the fact that current Lithium Ion batteries last maybe 500 cycles.
  17. fm2200

    fm2200 Member

    I'm not saying that Apple is good thing, I'm only relating there greed/energy is extreme and they want to antiquate their former products. In order to make the customer want more, they are on the fast track to create faster, better.
  18. slickdude

    slickdude Member

    Talked to Li Ping at Ping Battery. They are watching this very closely. Believe this may well replace heavy and costly batteries.
  19. Tanstaafl

    Tanstaafl Member

    That pesky law of thermodynamics (TANSTAAFL) would kick in, making for rapidly diminishing returns.
  20. Dankoozy

    Dankoozy Member

    There I was thinking your name was Tan Staafl

    (Staafl being some sort of German surname)