It can’t always be lead: supercapacitor-based power buffer modules

Author : Michael Raspotnig | Senior Design Engineer | PULS Power

01 April 2021

PULS_supercapacitor-based power buffer modules for DC-UPS

For many years, lead-acid batteries have been used almost exclusively in DC-UPS units for industrial systems. However, users have had to deal with the disadvantages of the limited lifetime, restricted temperature range & high weight of such batteries. Here, Michael Raspotnig, Senior Design Engineer at DIN rail power supply specialist, PULS Power explores an alternative option…

The full version of this article was originally featured in the April 2021 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

The recent lowering price trend in electrochemical double layer capacitors (EDLCs) can make them an attractive alternative in many applications. Also known as ultracapacitors (ultracaps), supercapacitors (supercaps) or green-caps, EDLCs have been available on the market for more than 15 years, and have proven to be a well-known and reliable component. Initially expensive, these components were therefore unsuitable as energy storage devices in DC-UPS (uninterruptible power supply) applications, and were reserved for other applications, such as energy storage for regenerative braking systems or for providing short peak currents. However, the standard price for these capacitors has reduced by almost half over the past five years, which now makes it possible to utilise them as energy storage devices in DC-UPS systems.  

Comparing the buffer times of capacitor and battery-based systems does not achieve any meaningful purpose. Batteries always win when energy densities are compared. It is much more important to take the actual required buffer time into account. If this is between 15 and 150 seconds, then EDLC capacitors can compete on price – and at the same time, still demonstrate many advantages.

Among these advantages are low weight, absolute freedom from maintenance, no follow-up costs, short charging time, no requirement for disposal of batteries, regulated output voltage in buffer mode and many more...


Read the full article in EPDT's April 2021 issue...


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