The Promise of Ultracapacitors

April 6, 2010
Quick and powerful, the emerging technology could change the way hybrid and electric vehicles are powered.

Among the biggest challenges for hybrid and electric vehicles are the size, weight and cost of their battery packs. But advances in ultracapacitors can address all three simultaneously. Batteries in vehicles would be supplemented by ultracapacitors that can quickly store and discharge energy.

While the mass deployment of electric vehicles might be years away, utilizing ultracapacitors within industrial applications might be closer than you think.

They provide energy to anything that moves, says Robert Jaworski, chief strategy officer at Ioxus, a developer and manufacturer of ultracapacitor technology. So thats automotive, trucks, buses, and trains. Even industrial operations involving robots moving objects.

Essentially, ultracapacitors could power any application which requires repetitive motion where theres a regular start and stop. So think along the lines of a garbage truck, a fork lift or other material handling devices, which stop every few hundred feet. With each pause, the ultracapacitor repowers itself.

Ultracapacitors are charged for short, powerful bursts of energy and, unlike batteries, have a limitless capacity for recharging.

Theres a lot of hope that they will revolutionize energy storage, says Jaworski.

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