Supercapacitors explained - the future of energy storage? | 10:56
A supercapacitor (SC), also called an ultracapacitor, is a high-capacity capacitor with a capacitance value much higher than other capacitors, but with lower voltage limits, that bridges the gap between electrolytic capacitors and rechargeable batteries. It typically stores:
- 10 to 100 times more energy per unit volume or mass than electrolytic capacitors,
- can accept and deliver charge much faster than batteries, and
- tolerates many more charge and discharge cycles than rechargeable batteries.1
How Ultracapacitors work
PRIMARY ENERGY SOURCES like internal combustion engines, fuel cells and batteries work well as a continuous source of low power. However, they cannot efficiently handle peak power demands or recapture energy in today's applications because they discharge and recharge slowly.
ULTRACAPACITORS deliver quick bursts of energy during peak power demands, then quickly store energy and capture excess power that is otherwise lost. They efficiently complement a primary energy source in today's applications because they discharge and recharge quickly.2
Power Grid Case Studies
As an increased amount of intermittent solar and wind renewable energy penetrates the grid, output becomes increasingly unstable. Utilities increase peak power reserves to handle increased intermittency, which leads to increased costs for the utility and/or the ratepayer. Fast-responding energy storage can decrease the need for more peak power infrastructure.
An ultracapacitor energy storage system was designed to demonstrate the capability of filling in short-term solar power intermittencies and providing ramp rate control for longer intermittencies.
To stabilize solar output for five minutes of ramp rate grid regulation, only 20 to 30 seconds of energy storage is needed to ensure local power quality at solar penetration levels of 50%. Ultracapacitors are an ideal solution for this function. Given the fast response of ultracapacitors, the system can also deliver other power reliability and quality services.3
- If ultracapacitors are an ideal solution used by utilities to stabilize solar output for five minutes of ramp rate grid regulation as needed, then how much recurring costs will be billed to ratepayers?
- A more relevant question is how much will it cost to rent-to-own a personal portable power cell that charges in minutes and lasts for decades?
- Either way you will still have to pay, but only one way will set you free.
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