Maxwell Unveils New DuraBlue Ultracaps

JUN 17 2014 BY MARK KANE 10

Maxwell 2.85 w DuraBlue cell

Maxwell 2.85 w DuraBlue cell

Maxwell 2.85 w DuraBlue cell

Maxwell 2.85 w DuraBlue cell

Maxwell Technologies recently introduced its K2 2.85V/3400F ultracapacitor, which can provide 17% more power and 23% more energy than Maxwell’s previous model, or so the company claims.

Features & Benefits

  • Up to 1,000,000 duty cycles or 10 year DC life*
  • Highest power and energy
  • Up to 18 kW/kg of Specific Power
  • Up to 4.00 Wh of Stored Energy
  • Threaded terminals or laser-weldable posts

18 kW in 0.5 kg is something hard to imagine.  However, energy density is at the level of just 7.7 Wh / kg (approx. one fourth of lead acid batteries).

This is still out of range for EV needs, because the main task is to raise energy density and lower the price, but for hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles this could bring some improvements. Maxwell Technologie says that in hybrid buses in which the ultracapacitors were used, fuel consumption can be lowered by 20-30%.

Second is that this new ultracapacitors will be more reliable due to higher vibrational resistance and shock immunity.

“The new 2.85-volt, 3400-farad ultracapacitor cell increases the range of available specific power and stored energy in the industry-standard 60 mm cylindrical “K2″ form factor, and introduces DuraBlue Shock and Vibration Technology, the newest innovation in ultracapacitor reliability and performance. DuraBlue Technology is tested to some of the most demanding environmental requirements for transportation, increasing vibration resistance by approximately 300 percent and shock immunity by 400 percent when compared with ultracapacitor-based competitive offerings.”

James Hines, research director of Gartner, wrote:

“The high costs and adverse environmental impacts of consuming petroleum-based fuels are driving development of alternative fuels and higher efficiency automotive powertrains. These systems require a source of electrical energy, and batteries have been widely used for energy storage in these applications; however, while batteries can store relatively large amounts of energy over a long time period, they are limited in their ability to deliver high power to a load. Ultracapacitors are capable of releasing electrical energy at high power levels, and they can accept a high rate of charge, making them an ideal complement to batteries in high-power applications.”1

1 Gartner, Cool Vendors in Automotive Electronics, 2014, James Hines, April 29, 2014.

Franz Fink, Maxwell’s chief executive officer, stated:

“This latest addition to our widely popular K2 Series of ultracapacitor cells reflects Maxwell’s commitment to continuous customer-driven innovation, and delivers superior performance with unmatched reliability and value. Our new DuraBlue Advanced Shock and Vibration Technology combines Maxwell’s unique and patented dry electrode formation and manufacturing process with a robust proprietary cell structure design to meet or exceed the most demanding shock and vibration requirements of the growing number of power-hungry applications in global transportation markets.”

Datasheet of K2 2.85V/3400F can be found here.

Categories: Battery Tech, General

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10 Comments on "Maxwell Unveils New DuraBlue Ultracaps"

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I love lithium batteries. but I would happily welcome some capacitors that could do the same job. With that sort of cycle life, range wouldn’t be quite the same issue. You could also fast charge as much as you want. And I bet you could get more performance from them, so even a car with lower range could still race like a Tesla.

Energy density is still a problem…

I realize that. I’m just saying, maybe some day it won’t be a problem.

It will always be a problem for true capacitors but their needn’t be only one energy storage component in an EV. Hybrid storage has been talked about for a long time. These could be excellent for the ~0.20kWh of energy needed for accelerating beyond what a minimal average load source could deliver. Minimal average load source needs to be capable of about 75kw maintained for mountain climbing, higher for heavier vehicles and lower for lighter. If enough cost and weight could be saved in a higher energy density storage media requires short term power supplement, then a hybrid solution can make sense.

Toyota is already using a capacitor in LMP1 racing, and it is helping them out of corners. Porsche’s A123 battery is is making their LMP1 Le Mans cars faster down the straights. Different kinetic energy recovery systems. Different results.

I was reading that Audi’s diesel hybrids are so engine heavy, that they adopted two recovery systems, both kinetic and heat. I suppose it was because the larger kinetic system was too heavy, vs adopting a smaller one, plus a heat-to-electric recovery system (ERS-H).

Kinda cool to think at least some “cars” are making use of all these things.

I think an even better racing application is electric drag racing, as they only need to go 1/4 mile.

Just think what 400kg of these caps would get you: up to 7200kW (LOL), and 3+ kWh is enough for a 2 ton car to hit 200 MPH. Use them to power a pair of Model S motors using maybe a 6:1 reduction gearing for higher speed and you’ve got a rocket…

Perhaps written by a Spanish Brony? 😉

For BEVs, lower priced (and smaller) ultracaps are important in two areas.

1. DC Fast/Quick Chargers to convert 240V/480V AC to DC,
2. the on-board charger that converts AC to DC … particularly for responsive ReGen(itive) braking, and

3. bonus: the ultracaps could boost acceleration with extra current for 5-10 seconds (eg: passing on a hill)

I believe it should say 18 kW for 1 kg. This is still a super impressive number. For comparison, high performance shaft-power producing gas turbine engines (think helicopters or turboprops) are on the order of 10kW/kg, or roughly half the power-to-weight this capacitor can achieve. The problem is energy, as a 1 kg battery pack could only put out 18 kW for 1.54 seconds. A good Li-Ion battery can’t match the power, but would store >20 times more energy for the same mass. The high charge rates are useful for hard regen conditions, which is probably why racing is using them, but that probably isn’t enough of a benefit to buy its way onto a typical EV.

I want a small pack for boost power. A 30Kg pack would give 80kW for 10 seconds. Charge it using regen and spare battery power capacity when not under full throttle. A 160kW Leaf would be fun 🙂