Graphene innovation results in record-breaking ultracapacitor

Posted on 30 Jun 2015 by Jonny Williamson

Leading European manufacturer, Skeleton Technologies has launched a new range of ultracapacitors that offer the highest level of energy density on the market.

Through the use of patented graphene material, the new series boasts a capacitance of 4,500 farads. By contrast, the closest competitor product has a capacitance of only 3,400 farads.

This represents the single biggest increase in energy density for ultracapacitors in the past 15 years.

Energy density is a key development challenge for the ultracapacitor market and is fundamental if the technology is to eventually replace battery storage.

The record-breaking energy density achieved by the SkelCap 4500 series will allow Skeleton Technologies to maximise opportunities in the heavy transportation and industrial markets where weight and space are at a premium.

Skeleton Technologies Ultracapacitor - SkelCap 4500 series
Energy density is a key development challenge for the ultracapacitor market.

The firms CEO, Taavi Madiberk commented: “Graphene has long been heralded as a wonder material for a range of applications, including energy storage. However, a mass-market, graphene-based product has been slow to materialise.

“Our ultracapacitors will be that market breakthrough. We are harnessing the power of graphene to make significant advances in ultracapacitor performance, resulting in strong customer demand ranging from aerospace to automotive applications.”

Skeleton Technologies ultracapacitors have already been chosen by the European Space Agency, where their use is expected to lead to significant cost savings from reducing the volume of heavy batteries required for energy storage.

Next month, the company is due to announce the first ultracapacitor product for the hybrid truck market.

The new range has been designed for mass-market applications and the needs of systems engineers. The format has been developed to meet the industry standard of a 60 mm diameter cylindrical cell. Skeleton Technologies had previously offered prismatic cells, which are more compact in modular arrangements but more expensive to produce.

Skeleton Technologies has also achieved one the lowest ESR (equivalent series resistance) levels on the market at 0.095 mΩ. This factor is crucial as it greatly increases the efficiency of the cells by reducing the amount of energy that is lost as heat.

CTO, Volker Dudek explained: “The ultracapacitor market is dominated by organic precursor carbon from coconut shell. It is the successful development of a graphene-based carbon that is allowing us to set new records for product performance.

“We have set ourselves an ambitious technology development target of 20 Wh/kg by 2020, which is comparable with battery level energy density. With the launch of the SkelCap 4500 range we are already halfway towards achieving that goal.”

In the past month, Skeleton Technologies secured €9.8m in Series B financing with a strategic investor in the electrical equipment market to ramp up the deployment of its graphene ultracapacitors.