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What Is An Ultracapacitor? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Allen   
Saturday, 06 October 2007

I have had several emails asking for a diagram and very basic and simple explanation of the ultracapacitor.

An Ultracapacitor is an electrochemical capacitor that has an unusually high energy density compared to a normal capacitor.  Almost everything that is powered by batteries will be improved by the ultracapacitor. They can be made in most any size, from postage stamp to hybrid car battery pack.

Their light weight and low cost make them attractive for most portable electronics and phones, as well as aircraft and automobiles. The newer designed ones are flexible and biodegradable and can be powered by body fluids. (Since body fluids can act as an electrolyte, the battery can be used for medical devices and could be installed into a patient fully charged but dry and feed off bodily fluids to allow it to re-power and discharge energy. 

Ultracapacitor ModuleAn ultra capacitor, also known as a double-layer capacitor, polarizes an electrolytic solution to store energy electro statically. Though it is an electrochemical device, no chemical reactions are involved in its energy storage mechanism. This mechanism is highly reversible, and allows the ultra capacitor to be charged and discharged hundreds of thousands of times.

Once the ultra capacitor is charged and energy stored, a load (the electric vehicle's motor) can use this energy. The amount of energy stored is very large compared to a standard capacitor because of the enormous surface area created by the porous carbon electrodes and the small charge separation created by the dielectric separator.

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