Reliable power for a sustainable world

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30 June, 2021
Learn about the high power density energy storage system that offers an alternative to traditional batteries.

Supercapacitors are seen as an eco-friendly alternative to the sealed lead-acid (SLA) batteries most commonly used in uninterruptible power supplies.  

SLA cells dominate the UPS market but do come with several drawbacks including a relatively short lifespan and susceptibility to unexpected failure.

As their costs become less prohibitive, supercapacitors are increasingly seen as a viable solution, in particular for applications that require short-term standby power (i.e. up to 30 seconds) before a transition to other backup sources like a generator.

 

What’s The Difference Between A Supercapacitor And A “Standard” Capacitor?

Supercapacitors work in broadly the same way as conventional capacitors do, but there are two fundamental differences.

Firstly, their plates cover a much larger surface as the metal is coated with a porous substance like activated carbon. This means they can store much more charge.

Secondly, the distance between the plates is smaller as the separator works differently. So when a supercapacitor’s plates are charged, an opposite charge forms either side of the separator, creating an electric double-layer. This layer can be as little as one molecule thick – in comparison, the thickness of a standard capacitor ranges from a few microns to a millimetre.

The thinner the separator, the greater amount of charge. While the bigger the surface area, the higher the capacitance. In practice, a supercapacitor has a much higher power density and can store as much as 10,000 times more energy per unit.

 

Advantages Of Using Supercapacitors

  • Higher power density
  • Longer lifespan
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Wide operating temperature range
  • No toxic or flammable components

 

Disadvantages Of Using Supercapacitors

  • Lower energy density
  • Higher upfront costs

 

UPS Applications Using Supercapacitors

Due to the combination of high power density and rapid charge/discharge, SuperCaps UPS are suitable for settings prone to short-duration power peaks or disruptions that last for just a few cycles.

Their higher tolerance to ambient temperature fluctuations also makes them a viable solution in harsh environments where high temperatures are unavoidable.

In addition, supercapacitors are also suitable for:

  • Renewable energy installations
  • Hospital diagnostic equipment
  • Regenerative braking on trains

 

Download the whitepaper for free from the link below

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Whitepaper

Supercapacitors and UPS Systems

Exploring the high power density alternative to traditional battery-backed UPS

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