Lithium-ion ultracapacitor could recharge power tools in minutes

Jan 10, 2011 by Lisa Zyga weblog
Ioxus' product line of hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitors. Image credit: Ioxus.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Although many people keep a few power tools in the garage or basement for weekend projects, the tools usually don’t get used very often. Fully recharging the battery in a drill or saw can take several hours, even if the tool is only used for a few minutes. But with a hybrid energy-storage device that combines a lithium-ion battery with an ultracapacitor, power tools could be recharged in about one minute and have a lifetime of more than 20,000 charges. The downside is that the power tool could run for only about 1/15 as long as it would on a normal battery.

The new lithium-ion ultracapacitor was developed by Ioxus, a company based in Oneonta, New York. The company specializes in making ultracapacitors for hybrid-electric buses and engine start-stop systems in fuel-efficient cars.

In general, hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitors are similar to traditional lithium-ion batteries, except that they store charge at the surface of the electrodes instead of within the electrodes. Although the concept of hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitors has been around for 20 years, demand for alternative energy-storage devices has inspired recent improvements.

Typically, standard ultracapacitors can store only about 5% as much as lithium-ion batteries. Ioxus’ new hybrid system can store about twice as much as standard ultracapacitors, although this is still much less than standard lithium-ion batteries. However, the advantage of ultracapacitors is that they can capture and release energy in seconds, providing a much faster recharge time compared with lithium-ion batteries. In addition, traditional lithium-ion batteries can be recharged only a few hundred times, which is much less than the 20,000 cycles provided by the hybrid system. In other words, the hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitors have more power than lithium-ion batteries, but less energy storage.

In the future, the hybrid lithium-ion ultracapacitor could also be used for regenerative braking in vehicles, especially if it could be scaled up to provide greater energy storage. Since vehicle braking systems need to be recharged hundreds of thousands of times, the hybrid system’s cycle life will also need to be improved.

Explore further: Going nuts? Turkey looks to pistachios to heat new eco-city

More information: Ioxus
via: Technology Review

Related Stories

Ultracapacitors Make City Buses Cheaper, Greener

Oct 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A fleet of 17 buses near Shanghai has been running on ultracapacitors for the past three years, and today that technology is coming to the Washington, DC, for a one-day demonstration. Chinese ...

Toward improving the safety of Lithium-ion batteries

Dec 17, 2007

After recalls and fires involving Lithium-ion batteries, battery manufacturers and scientists have launched an intensive effort to improve the safety of these rechargeable power packs found in dozens of consumer electronics ...

Recommended for you

Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US

Apr 17, 2014

The White House Thursday announced a series of measures aimed at increasing solar energy production in the United States, particularly by encouraging the installation of solar panels in public spaces.

Tailored approach key to cookstove uptake

Apr 17, 2014

Worldwide, programs aiming to give safe, efficient cooking stoves to people in developing countries haven't had complete success—and local research has looked into why.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Moebius
not rated yet Jan 10, 2011
This type of battery for power tools would be very useful. Why would you need 15 times more run time? A wireless charging method combined with this battery so it would charge every time you put it down would make the limited power of this battery irrelevant.
dconine
not rated yet Jan 15, 2011
The question lies in costs and actual usage. A worker is not going to climb down from a steep roof every 15 minutes and set down his drill to charge it. Longevity is VERY important. Cost of this technology also will determine if spare batteries can be afforded to carry enough to make up for the longevity.
EESTOR has been making claims for years of ultracapacitors and the science "community" says their claims are "impossible". Perhaps we need fewer companies trying to be first to market and more people working to understand science and make a product that won't be obsolete in a year, as well as standardizing the battery connection interface across the industry. The patent system needs to be overridden sometimes for the common good. The military does it all the time. The confusion, redundancy and waste involved in cordless battery technology is a good argument for eliminating patents altogether.

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...