Ultracapacitors, also known as Supercapacitors, or Electric Double Layer Capacitors (EDLC’s) store energy electrostatically as opposed to batteries which store energy electrochemically. Since ultracapacitors do not rely on electrochemical reactions, they are capable of handling very rapid charge and discharge rates at high power, repeatedly. There is a limit on the amount of energy that can be stored in an individual ultracapacitor cell, the largest typical cell today stores 3.0Wh (3000F, 2.7V). However, these cells can be connected in series/parallel to meet any energy storage system size requirement, depending on space available and economic considerations. Ultracapacitors excel in applications with short duration energy requirements where battery maintenance and replacement is costly, inconvenient or impossible. It is also possible to develop hybridized energy storage systems for grid applications that utilize ultracapacitors for short term power requirements, and other energy storage devices for the loner term energy requirements. With a calendar life >10 years and cylce life of 1 milllion, there are cases where an ultracapacitor can be designed in to last the entire life of a system.
Some systems cannot tolerate a power loss during operation, which can result in data loss, damage to systems/products or safety issues. In many cases, batteries are relied upon to perform this important bridge operation to protect systems and facilities. Unfortunately, there are many examples of cases when the batteries fail to performe due to age or lack of maintenance. A more reliable, long life solution can be offered using Supercapacitors to supply the bridge power. Supercapacitors can be utilized to keep systems running until a long-term back-up power system can be brought on-line and avoid any of these potential problems.
When power is lost, some systems require seconds, or longer, to save information and shut down in a safe and controlled manner. If the system shuts down in a rapid and uncontrolled manner, then sensitive data can be lost and/or damage can be caused to the system. Using a battery for this function will result in frequent maintenance and replacement. There is also the possibility that the battery will fail during the process resulting in loss or damage. Supercapacitors can be designed-in to provide a reliable long life back-up power source for graceful power down applications.
With peak shaving (also called load shedding), a facility reduces power consumption rapidly and for a short duration to avoid an unexpected peak in consumption. Electrical loads are "shaved" or reduced by temporarily scaling down operations, activating an on-site power generation system, or relying on a secondary power source to provide short duration power. By having a reliable secondary power source there is no need to scale down operations to cut power demand. Batteries are often used for this function, but can require regular maintenance and replacement and have reliability issues. Supercapacitors are a perfect option for a long life, maintenance free, highly reliable peak load shaving system.
In some applications, there can be temporary power dips that will create problems with systems that rely on continuous stable power. In industries with continuous power processes like coal, oil, semiconductor and chemical plants there can be serious consequences due to unmitigated voltage sags. This is very true in some low cost production territories that have unreliable power supply infrastructure. Some voltage sag support solutions come with batteries, which will require maintenance and replacement more often than supercapacitors. These voltage sags can be frequent and short duration, which is a perfect application for a long life, maintenance free Supercapacitor bank.
Systems that collect and transmit data (such as electricity meters) can suffer from data loss if power is lost. Using batteries in these systems, which are widely distributed, can create a battery maintenance nightmare. When power is lost, supercapacitors can be used to either complete the transmission of data packs, or save the untransmitted data to flash memory until power is restored. 10+ year life and maintenance free.
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