The latest buzz in the battery market is that the ultracapacitor may prove to be a key driver in the new energy economy.
What is an ultracapacitor?
According to Wikipedia, electric double-layer capacitors, also known as super capacitors or ultracapacitors, are electrochemical capacitors that have an unusually high energy density when compared to common capacitors, typically on the order of thousands of times greater than a high capacity electrolytic capacitor.
A capacitor is a passive electronic component consisting of a pair of conductors separated by a dielectric (a non-conducting substance, an insulator). When a voltage potential difference exists between the conductors, an electric field is present in the dielectric, and this field stores energy and produces a mechanical force between the plates.
Bottom line here---depending on the performance of their materials, ultracapacitors store and release more energy faster than conventional batteries. In addition, they have a nearly limitless cycle life.
Two California-based firms are on the cutting edge of ultracapacitors. San Diego-based Maxwell Technologies (NASDAQ:MXWL) is partnering with Poway-based ISE Corporation to develop and market high-voltage energy storage systems for fuel-efficient, low-emission, hybrid buses and trucks. Maxwell is a leading manufacturer of energy storage products and ISE is a leading designer and manufacturer of hybrid propulsion systems and components of heavy duty vehicles.
According to David Schramm, president and CEO of Maxwell, both companies’ technology and products have come a long way. “Rising fuel prices and new regulations aimed at reducing CO2 emissions are driving demand that is bringing hybrid drive systems squarely into the transportation mainstream,” Schramm said. “ISE’s pioneering energy storage system designs incorporating ultracapacitors gave our products their first production-level opportunity in the transit bus market.”
Rick Sander, president and CEO of ISE, said his firm is thrilled to collaborate with Maxwell. “Maxwell has consistently demonstrated that it is the world’s most capable provider of ultracapacitor products,” Sander noted. “Our combined resources and complementary products along with ISE’s hybrid energy storage system expertise will position us to compete for a growing share of the rapidly expanding global market for heavy vehicle drive systems.”
The strategic alliance addresses the global market for greener, more energy-efficient vehicles.
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