A supercapacitor, also known as an ultracapacitor, is a type of energy storage device that can store and release large amounts of electrical energy quickly. The basic principle of a supercapacitor was first described in the early 1800s by the German scientist Wilhelm Weber. However, the first true supercapacitor, also known as an electrochemical capacitor, was not invented until the 1950s and 1960s. The first supercapacitor was invented by General Electric researcher Stanley Whittingham, in the early 1970s while he was focused on developing lithium-ion batteries. His invention was based on a porous titanium sulfide electrode that exhibited high surface area and high electrochemical stability.
However, it was not until the 1980s and 1990s that supercapacitors began to be developed and commercialized for a variety of applications. The development of new materials and manufacturing techniques has led to an increase in the energy density and power density of supercapacitors, making them increasingly useful in a wide range of applications.
Unlike a traditional capacitor, which stores energy in an electric field, a supercapacitor stores energy in both an electric field and in chemical bonds between ions and electrode surfaces. This is called electric double-layer capacitance (EDLC). Supercapacitors have a much higher capacitance than traditional capacitors and can store and release energy much more quickly. They are often used in applications where high-power density and rapid charge/discharge cycles are required, such as in electric vehicles, power tools, and backup power systems.
A battery and a supercapacitor are both energy storage devices, but they work in different ways and have different characteristics.
A battery stores energy in a chemical reaction, which releases energy as an electric current when the battery is connected to a load. Batteries have a relatively high energy density, meaning they can store a lot of energy in a small space. However, they have a limited number of charge-discharge cycles and a gradual loss of capacity over time.
A supercapacitor, on the other hand, stores energy in an electric field, created by the separation of charge between two electrodes. Supercapacitors have a much higher power density than batteries, meaning they can release energy much more quickly. They also have a longer service life and can withstand many more charge-discharge cycles. However, their energy density is lower than batteries, so they cannot store as much energy in any given form factor.
In summary, batteries store a lot of energy in a small space and release it slowly, while supercapacitors store less energy in a given size but release it very quickly.
Supercapacitors are used in a variety of applications that require rapid charge and discharge cycles, high power density, and long service life. Some examples include:
Nanoramic® is a company that specializes in advanced material solutions based on nano-carbons. Neocarbonix® at the Core technology creates electrodes with an advanced 3-D nanoscopic carbon binding structure, providing reduced cost and greater power, energy density, and cycle life performance compared to traditional battery designs.
Nanoramic's division, FastCap® Ultracapacitors, uses these materials to create high-performance ultracapacitors that rely on nanocarbon-based electrodes. These ultracapacitors are enabling the development of various energy storage technologies. FastCap® Ultracapacitors is known for its expertise in harsh environment energy storage. Our ultracapacitors are the only ones capable of operating in temperatures up to 150C and under conditions of high shock and vibration.
If you would like to learn more about how our unique technology helps companies increase their ROI, all with green energy storage, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to talk to you.