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A capacitor is similar to a battery in that it is a medium for storing electrical energy. However, a capacitor is a much simpler device than a battery, it cannot produce new electrons -- it only stores them. Capacitors that are scaled up to power levels required for delivering power to vehicles and the utility grid are known as Ultracapacitors.



Research and Development

  • Storage > Capacitors >
    Big Energy Storage in Thin Films - Researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia have demonstrated that it's possible to use techniques borrowed from the chip-making industry to make thin-film carbon ultracapacitors that store three times as much energy by volume as conventional ultracapacitor materials; and they could operate without ever being replaced. (MIT Technology Review; April 22, 2010)
  • Nanotechnology / Storage > Capacitors >
    Print-on-Demand Power - Flexible carbon-nanotube supercapacitors could give more power to cell phones and other electronics. Researchers have made the first printable supercapacitor. This high-performance energy-storage device performs better than conventional supercapacitors currently on the market. (MIT Technology Review; April 27, 2009)
  • Capacitor research could increase storage by 7x - Researchers have developed a new type of capacitor which allows up to seven times the electrical storage potential as standard capacitors available today. This is good news for the electric and hybrid car industry, as capacitors are a possible alternative to batteries. (AutoblogGreen; Jul. 4, 2007)


  • Hybrid Vehicles > TNO Hybrid Carlab - This Beetle finished 2nd in the 2005 Rallye Monte Carlo for Hybrid Vehicles using < 4 litres/100km (59 mpg US). A 150kW AC Propulsion electrical system powers the front wheels supplied by a generator set based on a VW 1.2 TDI 3-cylinder diesel engine and UQM generator. Peak power is supplied by a supercapacitor pack consisting of 3500F Nesscap cells.

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