One of the main drawbacks to the current hybrid electric cars in production is their inability to travel long distances on electricity alone. The use of the much longer-lasting ultracapacitors instead of conventional rechargeable batteries is one solution auto manufactures are considering.
"... Because no chemical reaction is involved, ultracapacitors--also known as supercapacitors and double-layer capacitors--are much more effective at rapid, regenerative energy storage than chemical batteries are...." IEEE Spectrum
We've put together some information about the growing interest in electric cars and storing electric energy in such a way as to extend their range on electric power alone. One of these methods of storing energy is the double-layer capacitor or 'ultra-capacitor'... which has, in tests, been able to extend that range to over 300 miles.
According to Wikipedia "... An electric double-layer capacitor, also known as supercapacitor, supercondenser, pseudocapacitor, electrochemical double layer capacitor (EDLC), or ultracapacitor, is an electrochemical capacitor with relatively high energy density, typically on the order of thousands of times greater than an electrolytic capacitor. For instance, a typical D-cell sized electrolytic capacitor displays capacitance in the range of tens of millifarads. The same size electric double-layer capacitor might reach several farads, an improvement of two orders of magnitude..."
Professor Joel Schindall of MIT's Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems discusses his work in developing a fast-charging, long-lived ultracapacitor that has the potential of replacing standard batteries; a tour of the lab is provided.
Websites and Organizations Concerned with Ultra-Capacitors
UltraCapacitors.org "... almost everything we use requires a battery (computers, mobile cell phones, flashlights, hybrid electric cars, personal entertainment devices like Ipod, etc). As functionality increases in the digital age, so has our reliance on the traditional battery. The battery has not progressed far beyond the basic design developed by Alessandro Volta in the 19th century. Until just now...." CLICK HERE for the rest of the story.
Groups and Forums Which Are Exchanging Information About Electric Cars and Making Remarks about Ultra-Capacitors
The Electric Car Community "... We are building a community of electric car owners, drivers, and enthusiasts. Whether you currently own an electric car or simply have an interest in the electric car industry, this is the place to ask questions, share insight, and discuss issues...." One of the contributors notes "... The current technology in lithium batteries are going to get the electric car off the lot so to speak, but will future technology in batteries drive the car away? Ultra Capacitors are gaining attention and their potential as a viable technology persists despite endless setbacks, delays and controversy...."
Articles about Super-Capacitors or Ultra-Capacitor
The Charge of the Ultra-Capacitor "... In 1995, a small fleet of innovative electric buses began running along 15-minute routes through a park at the northern end of Moscow. A decade later, a few dozen seaport cranes in Asia, a couple of light-rail trains in Europe, and a battalion of garbage trucks in the United States have joined their high-tech ranks. A smattering of mass-transit vehicles and industrial machines may seem like one wimpy revolution, but revolutionary they are. Unlike most of their electric relatives, these vehicles all share one key attribute: they don't run on batteries. Instead, they are powered by ultracapacitors, which are souped-up versions of that tried-and-true workhorse of electrical engineering, the capacitor...." CLICK HERE for the rest of the story
Graphene supercapacitor breaks storage record "... EEstor is going to be jealous! Researchers in the US have made a graphene-based supercapacitor that can store as much energy per unit mass as nickel metal hydride batteries - but unlike batteries, it can be charged or discharged in just minutes or even seconds. The new device has a specific energy density of 85.6 Wh/kg at room temperature and 136 Wh/kg at 80 °C. These are the highest ever values for 'electric double layer' supercapacitors based on carbon nanomaterials. The new device was made by Bor Jang of US-based Nanotek Instruments and colleagues. It has electrodes made of graphene mixed with 5wt% Super P (an acetylene black that acts as a conductive additive) and 10wt% PTFE binder. A sheet of carbon just one atom thick, graphene is a very good electrical conductor as well as being extremely strong and flexible....."