Technology developers have struggled for some time with the challenge of how to create a battery thats powerful enough to operate an electric or hybrid vehicle, but also keep it relatively small in size and weight. Add to that equation how to keep these batteries affordable and it crystallizes just how complex the energy storage issue is becoming for next-generation technologies.
One promising energy storage technology has been ultracapacitors, which are devices able to store relatively little energy, but also deliver immense bursts of power.
Today, energy storage developer Ioxus announced a hybrid storage device that combines ultracapacitor technology with a lithium-ion battery. The hybrid capacitor, as its called, can store more than twice the energy of traditional ultracapacitors. The device, which is about the size of a C cell battery, can be charged in seconds.
The first generation of these hybrid capacitors are being targeted for automotive subsystems such as power windows and door locks, memory back-up, LED lighting and off-grid lighting.
In industrial applications, it is also well-suited for portable hand tools and industrial flashlights. A user, for instance, could fully charge a tool in 90 seconds, according to Ioxus chief operating officer Chad Hall.
The technology has evolved in that weve taken the fast charge/discharge of ultracapacitors and improved the energy density by designing in a lithium ion electrode and putting it all in the same device, said Hall.
That device, he explained, combines the activated carbon material of an ultracapacitor that stores charge and layers of lithium ion material wrapped in a cylinder form.
The technology is evolving and I think that larger and larger hybrid capacitors will be developed to handle larger applications, said Hall.
Next generation hybrid capacitors could power any application which requires repetitive motion or a regular start and stop. That could mean a garbage truck, a fork lift or other material handling devices, which stop every few hundred feet.
The hybrid capacitor is a breakthrough in energy density and power that will fuel the development of environmentally friendly applications in markets from transportation to consumer goods, said Ioxus CEO Mark McGough.