Can Supercapacitors surpass battery storage?

Abhishek Shukla, Saison Components & Solutions

Super capacitors & batteries are different technologies with different benefits for different applications. Mr. Abhishek Shukla, Marketing and Vendor Development, Saison Components & Solutions talks here more about the supercapacitors advantages and products offerings.

What’s interesting, though, is the increasing number of applications where supercapacitor technology unquestionably outperforms batteries, and the new solutions emerging as a result. In recent years super capacitors have replaced batteries in many applications like for instance in pitch control system of wind turbine which is widely accepted across the globe.

Another big example is in cranking of DG’s, as supercapacitors have completely replaced battery there as well.

Unlike batteries, which rely on a chemical reaction, supercapacitors store energy in an electric field. This allows them to charge and discharge much faster than batteries. They can also survive up to a million charge and discharge cycles, whereas battery lifetime is restricted by degrading chemicals. Supercapacitors have little or no internal resistance (down to 0,12 mΩ), allowing them to work at close to 100% efficiency. They are also significantly lighter than batteries, and generally don’t contain harmful chemicals or toxic metals.

Why weren’t Supercapacitors more widely used?

It is simply because battery is an older technology. Power electronics were designed around battery technology, making the adoption of supercapacitors more complex, as well as more costly. But times are changing. As Supercapacitors are used more widely every year, the technology around high-power devices evolves as well. Costs are coming down, engineers are gaining more and more experience with supercapacitors and new applications are emerging.

We see an increasing demand across different segments such as Industrial, automotive, aerospace & renewable.

Innovations in Supercapacitors

Over the years, ultra-capacitors have increased the number of applications they are used in as they resolve the limitations of Lead-acid & lithium ion batteries.

If we talk about the automobile industry, they are delivering far superior electrical performance in applications such as:

  • Warm cranking for fuel efficient Stop-Start systems.
  • Cold cranking support to extend battery life.
  • Regenerative energy capture during braking/coasting.
  • Distributed power systems to reduce wiring loom size/weight/cost.
  • Drive-train support in Hybrid Electric and Electric Vehicles.
  • Drive train support in Fuel Cell/Hydrogen-powered Vehicles.
  • Drive train support in Electric Buses, Trucks, Bikes, etc.
  • Sub-power for Car audio, Car navigation, automatic window, and other electric accessories.

Applications of Supercapacitors

The applications of Supercapacitors are increasing day by day.

From being used in the solar tracking application for powering motors to providing power back-up via Diesel generator in Telecom towers. Supercapacitors are also in solar inverters to enhance battery life.

In many of the wind turbine manufacturers, batteries in the pitching system have been replaced by supercapacitor modules.

In smart/energy meters, ultra-capacitors are used for power back-up in case of outage.

What can be the problems faced in using supercapacitors in harsh environment conditions?

The main problem that can be faced under high temperature and high humid conditions is the wetting found in a supercapacitor.

However, Vinatech has worked and after lot of research developed new series which is the Anti Wetting series called as NEO series.

VINATech are rolling out a proven solution to combat effects of Extreme environments

Radial EDLCs are facing challenges across the globe when installed in equipment that regularly exceeds the recommended temperature conditions for EDLCs, especially when combined with high humidity conditions.

A growing number of applications from around the globe are realising this “Wetting Phenomenon” from all EDLC manufacturers, especially those with 2.7v products. This wetting is identified when products in the field are returned, especially areas like the Middle East, West Africa, Central America and parts of Asia. Affected applications include Automotive and Tracking, UPS, HVA, SSD, Building controls and numerous AMR solutions.

VINATech’s development engineers have studied this phenomenon, studied other EDLC products and have now re-invented the EDLC technology in the 2.7v and their popular 3v series to overcome this Industry wide Wetting Phenomenon. Initially unhappy with simple improvements like improved rubber material and tightening of the bung which is now part of the standard VEC range, VINATech engineers are now confident with the new WEC series solution following constant trials with 30 second cycling at 65c 90rh over 12 months with no effects of Wetting.

The NEO series is ready to combat effects of extreme environments.

saision2The new series is being promoted will cover 1 Farad to 100F in Radial options and 0.5F to 5F in Module format.

  • Pin for Pin compatible with standard series
  • 2 Series Modules available
  • Temperature range -40~65c (extended to 85c when de-rated)
  • Low ESR
  • 7V and 3V options
  • 500,000 cycle life
  • First real Anti Wetting solution
  • To learn more about using EDLCs in extreme environments, call the sales officeVINATech new NEO Seriessaison3What is wetting?Wetting is a phenomenon found when a Radial type EDLC (or Coin type) is used in extreme conditions, normally above the recommended +65c and linked with high humidity, normally found in Equatorial countries, rain forests etc. or in plain high temperatures near coast lines and in some factory environments too.

    The observation is a black sticky substance on the (-) pin, this in fact is a strong Alkali which corrodes the pin and rubber then erodes the PCB track causing equipment failure. Often the EDLC continues to work.

    saison4Why does it leak? We have studied this in depth and understand it is caused by an internal chemical reaction when additional H2O meets the Electrode and Electrolyte. However, It doesn’t affect the SNAP IN types

    VINATech and some major customers have tested the NEO products at +65c 90deg RH and after 12 months of full 30 second cycling have not seen any sign of wetting.

    Does it affect all EDLCs?

    So far we have evidence it affects all EDLCs but mainly 2.7v series. As yet we haven’t seen “wetting” from our 3v customers, but it could be possible.

    It affects all Industry sectors from HVAC to PCs, UPS, Automotive, Tracking, Building controls and AMR.

    Does it affect your competitors?

    Yes. We have tested all our competitors’ 2.7v products and at some stage, some earlier than others, their products do fail.

    How is NEO better than other possible Anti Wetting solutions?

    VINATech have improved the rubber bung, tightened the sealing (also for standard VEC series) but have also changed the internal construction of the Capacitor to prevent the chemical reaction.

    How do your competitors overcome Wetting?

    One manufacturer has improved the rubber bung (like our VEC type) and added some epoxy, this has delayed the phenomenon. They also recommend anti gravitational mounting.

    Other manufacturers suggest increasing the number of capacitors in series or bluntly say it is a fact of life and the customer should plan for this.

    Life time, can we use the same life time data?

    Yes, the NEO follows the same characteristics.

    Soldering and usage?

    Please use the same guidelines as for VEC series, manual soldering or wave soldering (NOT Reflow)

    Cost, is it the same?

    The cost is slightly higher.

    Available in 2.7v and 3v plus modules?

    Yes. It is available in 2.7V & 3V plus modules.




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