Power Electronics

Standard Packaging Slashes Size and Cost of Ultracapacitors

Maxwell Technologies’ D Cell Boostcap ultracapacitor (model BCAP0350) exploits standard battery packaging to reduce the size and cost of ultracapacitors used in transportation, industrial, and renewable energy applications. A 2.5-V 350-F cell, the BCAP0350 is built in the cylindrical D-cell package, which measures 61.5 mm × 33 mm.

The BCAP0350 was developed to replace the company’s 2.5-V 450-F cell, which is approximately four times larger than the new cell. This size reduction corresponds to a nearly three-fold improvement in energy density with the new cell providing 21 J/g versus 7.4 J/g for the old cell.

According to the vendor, the BCAP0350 is the first ultracapacitor based on an industry-standard form factor. Because it uses a popular battery package, this ultracapacitor can be manufactured with readily available tooling for crimping, welding and can stamping. Consequently, the cost of the part is significantly less than that of its predecessor.

Thousand-piece pricing for the D cell will be $15 per unit versus about $40 for the 450-F cell. Another comparison can be made with the company’s 100-F cell—another part based on non-standard packaging—that sells for $15. In high volume, pricing for the D cell will be less than $10.

In addition to offering cost and size benefits, the standard package will ease design-in of the ultracapacitors in the application. In the transportation market, designers can integrate the D cell to power initial acceleration, operate electrical subsystems and recapture energy from braking for cleaner, more fuel-efficient hybrid electric vehicles. In industrial applications, the ultracapacitor may be used to supply pulse-power soft shutdown in emergency situations. Furthermore, for windmill pitch-control systems, the D cell provides a simple way to buffer short-term mismatches between the power available and the power required. The D cell supplies bursts of high power and recharges rapidly from any energy source over hundreds of thousands of cycles without significant performance degradation. The D cell has low internal resistance, so energy is easily collected and stored for reuse. The ultracapacitors have a 10-year life capability, deliver greater than 500,000 duty cycles and withstand reverse polarity. The BCAP0350 is available now.

For more information, visit www.maxwell.com.

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