Improving Battery Efficiency and Durability with UltraCapacitors

Among the many benefits of marrying ultracaps and batteries is longer cycle life.

Published: 20-Aug-2009

Report by Kevin Bullis

Energy storage devices called ultracapacitors could lower the cost of the battery packs in plug-in hybrid vehicles by hundreds or even thousands of dollars by cutting the size of the packs in half, according to estimates by researchers at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, IL. Ultracapacitors could also dramatically improve the efficiency of another class of hybrid vehicle that uses small electric motors, called microhybrids, according to a recent study from the University of California, Davis.

The use of ultracapacitors in hybrids isn't a new idea. But the falling cost of making these devices and improvements to the electronics needed to regulate their power output and coordinate their interaction with batteries could soon make them more practical, says Theodore Bohn, a researcher at Argonne's Advanced Powertrain Research Facility.

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