Power Electronics

Ultracapacitor Firm Licenses Wind-Turbine Technology

Maxwell Technologies has obtained a non-exclusive worldwide license from Enercon for a patent covering the use of ultracapacitors in wind-energy systems. The license includes the use of ultracapacitors as a backup power source for blade-pitch systems used in wind turbines. Dr. Richard Balanson, Maxwell's president and chief executive officer, said that the license clears the way for Maxwell to market its Boostcap ultracapacitor products to any wind-turbine or blade-pitch-system manufacturer that wants to incorporate the technology into its products.

Blade pitch systems enhance the consistency of wind turbines' energy output by "trimming" turbine blades to compensate for changes in wind velocity. Backup power allows for an orderly shut down in the event of interruption of the primary power source. Ultracapacitors' long operational life and reliable performance in low-temperature environments reduce maintenance and replacement costs associated with battery-based backup power systems.

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