Saturday, May 05, 2007

Ultracapacitors Compared with Storage Batteries

Ultracapacitors, storage batteries, and fuel cells each have strengths and weaknesses, in terms of supplying energy to an electric vehicle. Fuel cells can store a large amount of energy, in the form of fuel, but cannot provide the huge surges of power needed for rapid acceleration. Storage batteries can store an intermediate amount of energy, and can provide a moderate surge of power. Ultracapacitors store small amounts of energy but provide very large surges of power.

Combining the strengths of all three storage media will almost achieve the strengths of the internal combustion engine, but with a cleaner, more efficient use of energy. In the future, the distinctions between fuel cells, storage batteries, and ultracapacitors are likely to fade.

This Google Tech Talk presents some details of the approach to ultracapacitors by a Ukrainian/US startup, APCT. It provides a useful overview of the need for ultracapacitors, and the potential market.

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