Yunasko says supercaps sweet spot is at 100ºC

Dr Natalia Stryzhakova, head of Yunasko's research labs: “We are happy to get a low-cost ultracapacitor system capable of reliably working at temperatures as high as 100-110°C.” Pic: Yunasko.

Dr Natalia Stryzhakova, head of Yunasko’s research labs: “We are happy to get a low-cost ultracapacitor system capable of reliably working at temperatures as high as 100-110°C.” Pic: Yunasko.

By Jason Deign

Ukrainian ultracapacitor hopeful Yunasko is looking to set up large-scale manufacturing in China after proving a product that works at up to 100ºC.

“Right now, our company is focused closely on customised solutions,” said project manager Sergii Tychina. “We have limited manufacturing capabilities here in Ukraine [but] we have partners in China.”

The news last month that Yunasko’s technology had passed independent high-temperature tests at JME, a US-based firm owned by ultracapacitor expert Dr John Miller, has sparked a search for strategic partners, Tychina said.

The tests showed Yunasko’s ultracapacitors could last 2,000 hours, or about a million charge-discharge cycles, at 100ºC with an operating voltage of 2.39V.

“This is the highest operating voltage of any solution-based ultracapacitor,” said Yunasko in press materials, “at a fraction of the cost typically seen for ionic liquids.” 
Read more →

Skeleton’s crew expands with German focus

Skeleton Technologies pitched to investors at The Business Booster in Barcelona (pic: InnoEnergy).

Skeleton Technologies pitched to investors at The Business Booster in Barcelona (pic: InnoEnergy).

By Jason Deign

Skeleton Technologies is expanding its top team and contemplating further cash injections as its sets its sights on a precious German market.

The Estonian ultracapacitor maker, which has so far raised €26.7m in funding, is looking for a vice president of global sales as it expands manufacturing into Germany, which is expected to account for a fifth of its global market.

The company was also showing off to potential investors and customers at a showcase event called The Business Booster (TBB), in Barcelona, Spain, last Thursday.

Having closed its round C funding, for €13m, this summer, programme director Egert Valmra appealed to TBB’s audience for a round D injection in support of UCGEN3, a ‘next-generation’ ultracapacitor programme led by Skeleton.

In the meantime, however, Skeleton is focusing attention on scaling up production in Estonia and building a presence in Germany, where it opened a factory this year. 
Read more →

Is this the company to beat Tesla?

Capacitor Sciences and its thin film capacitor technology could beat Tesla lithium-ion batteries on performance and cost around $100 per kWh.

Capacitor Sciences and its thin film capacitor technology could beat Tesla lithium-ion batteries on performance and cost around $100 per kWh. Photo credit: Capacitor Sciences

By Jason Deign

California start-up Capacitor Sciences claims to be developing an energy storage medium that could beat lithium-ion batteries on performance while costing around USD$100 per kWh.

The Menlo Park firm is hoping to use nano-structured crystalline thin films as the dielectric material for capacitors with up to 10 times the energy density and 100 times the power density of lithium ion batteries, according to a press release.

Capacitor Sciences says the use of thin film should overcome problems dogging other capacitor manufacturers, such as ill-fated EEStor, which used inorganic dielectric materials too brittle to withstand repeated charging cycles.

“No-one is really working on this class of materials,” said Wolfgang Mack, vice president of business development. “We’re using organic materials. They are waxy in nature. There’s no damage done during charge and discharge.”

Capacitor Sciences’s founder and chief technology officer, Dr Pavel Lazarev, was previously involved with Crysoptix, a liquid crystal display optical films maker, and nanomaterials business Optiva, which went out of business in 2005.
Read more →

Ioxus targets auto sector with new appointment

Ioxus ultracapacitors are being targeted at the automotive sector. Nissan is one of the manufacturers currently incorporating ultracapacitors into its vehicles.

Ioxus ultracapacitors are being targeted at the automotive sector. Nissan is one manufacturer currently incorporating ultracapacitors into its vehicles. Photo credit: Animam.

The ultracapacitor company Ioxus last week reinforced its automotive sector focus by naming ex-General Motors (GM) executive Don Runkle the chairman of the board.

Runkle’s experience includes having been GM’s top engineering executive as vice president of the company’s North American Engineering Center.

He was previously chief engineer of Chevrolet, chief engineer of powertrain and racing at the Buick Division, director of advanced vehicle engineering and vice president of GM’s advanced engineering staff.
Read more →

Energy storage news: 17.09.14

A supercapacitor made of hemp fibres is as good as a graphene supercapacitor for energy storage, according to Dr David Mitlin of the University of Alberta, Canada.

A supercapacitor made of hemp is as good as a graphene supercapacitor for energy storage, says Dr David Mitlin of the University of Alberta, Canada. Photo credit: Vote Hemp

The energy storage news headlines from our Twitter feed this week.

  • The Strati, the first 3D-printed electric car, was printed in 44 hours at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago on 13 September.
  • The NY-BEST conference and exhibition for the New York energy storage industry has been reviewed by Democrat & Chronicle.

Read more →

Nanotechnology in energy storage

Graphene and nanotechnology in energy storage offer exciting prospects, promising dramatic increases in capacity with reductions in size, weight and cost. Photo credit: The Graphene Flagship

Graphene and nanotechnology in energy storage promise dramatic increases in capacity with reductions in size, weight and cost. Photo credit: The Graphene Flagship

Nanotechnology has been a theme of futurist fiction for decades now. And its products are finally coming out of the lab to find a role in sunscreen, medical plasters and self-cleaning glass, to name a few applications. Meanwhile, although still very much at the development phase and some way from commercialisation, nanotechnology in energy storage is an exciting prospect for the sector, promising dramatic increases in capacity with reductions in size, weight and cost.

It could also lead to novel alternatives to conventional batteries, such as the recently reported energy-storing electrical wire that inventors claim may one day be woven into clothing to supply electricity for our portable gadgets.
Read more →

Supercapacitors to the rescue

As Vanderbilt University create a structural supercapacitor energy storage device, we analyse developments in the supercapacitor industry.

As Vanderbilt University create a structural supercapacitor energy storage device, we analyse developments in the supercapacitor industry. Photo credit: Vanderbilt University

One of the most intriguing energy storage stories of last week was news of a solid-state supercapacitor so tough it could potentially be built into laptop casings, electric vehicle panels and even walls to become the basis of a structural energy storage device.The discovery, uncovered by a team from Vanderbilt University’s Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory, adds to near-daily reports of potential game-changing improvements to the technology.

So it seemed like a good time to take stock of supercapacitors (and ultracapacitors, but more of that later): what they are, what they can and can’t do in energy storage, how they can be improved, and what the future might hold for the sector.
Read more →

Clay key for better supercapacitors

A composite of clay and an electrolyte serves as both electrolyte and a separator in a supercapacitor. Photo credit: Ajayan Group/Rice University

A composite of clay and electrolyte serves as both electrolyte and separator in a supercapacitor. Photo credit: Ajayan Group/Rice University

Supercapacitors have been in the news a lot recently, with researchers and investors alike hoping they can combine the rapid charging and high energy densities of conventional capacitor devices with the slow release of energy associated with batteries.
Read more →