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What is a Super Capacitor?

Electrochemical Double Layer Capacitor (EDLC), also called Super Capacitor or ultracapacitor, is an electro-chemical capacitor that has high capacitance and high energy density when compared to common capacitors, and higher power density compared to batteries. Most Super Capacitors utilize high surface area activated carbon as the electrode material for energy storage. Super Capacitors have nearly infinite charge/discharge cycles, and are capable of delivering large instantaneous current. For certain applications, battery-powered devices need high current pulses. Due to the high internal resistance (ESR), this can be difficult or impossible for batteries to supply without the risk of performance failures, reduced operational life, or even premature battery failures. Coupling the low ESR Super Capacitors from Cellergy in parallel to the battery can help supply additional power during these pulses. Low ESR Super Capacitors are now being used in more applications, including mobile phones, RFID, AMR's, medical devices, GPS tracking systems, Bluetooth communication devices, alarm and security systems and many more.

How do Super Capacitors differ from conventional capacitors?

Conventional capacitors (i.e. film capacitors) store energy electrostatically on two electrodes (which are usually metal plates) separated by a dielectric. The capacitance of these capacitors is given by: C= ε*A/d ε - dielectric constant A - surface area of the electrodes d - dielectric thickness between the two electrodes Thus, the greater the area of the electrodes and the thinner the dielectric, the greater the capacitance. Super Capacitors are governed by the same basic principals as conventional capacitors; however they incorporate electrodes with much higher surface area (which can be more than 2000 m2 per gram) such as porous carbon materials or porous oxides of some metals, an electrolyte (aqueous or organic) and a separator (that allow transfer of ions, but provide electronic insulation between the electrodes). As voltage is applied, charges accumulate at the boundary between the electrode and electrolyte to form two charge layers with a separation of several angstroms. Thus, the high surface area of the electrodes together with the thin separation distance leads to very high capacitance and energy density compared to conventional electrostatic capacitors.

How do Super Capacitors differ from batteries?

Super Capacitors, like batteries, are energy storage components, and they can be charged and discharged formally like rechargeable batteries. The main difference between Super Capacitors and batteries is the mechanism of charge storage; while a battery stores energy in chemical form in its active materials and converts it into electrical energy on demand by electrochemical oxidation-reduction process, Super Capacitors store energy in an electrostatic field. A battery typically consists of four main components: an anode – the negative electrode; a cathode – the positive electrode; the electrolyte, which provides the medium for transfer of ions inside the cell between the anode and cathode; and the separator that electrically isolates the positive and negative electrodes, while allowing ions to transfer. When batteries are charged and discharged there is a chemical reaction on the surface of the electrodes. In contrast, when a Super Capacitor is charged there is no chemical reaction – instead the energy is stored electrostatically on the surface of the electrode. The energy is discharged in seconds, which is much faster when compared to the chemical reaction process in batteries. Super Capacitors offer faster charge or discharge rates than most batteries, and have a virtually unlimited cycle life - up to 10 6 cycles. Batteries are broadly classified into primary and secondary batteries. A primary battery is for single use; it can convert its chemicals into electricity only once, and than it must be discarded or recycled with no possibility for recharge. Primary batteries typically have high impedance (high voltage drop when used for high current pulse applications). A secondary battery consists of electrodes that can be reconstituted by passing electricity back through a charger, so it can be recharged up to 1500 times, depending on battery type and use. Compared to Super Capacitors, batteries have much lower power density. Because the voltage drop is too high, batteries often can't supply the required power in pulse applications. At low temperatures this situation is even more severe due to the high increase of internal resistance. In addition, when compared to secondary batteries, Super Capacitors don't require full charge detection. There is no danger of overvoltage because supercapacitors take as much energy as needed; when full, they stop accepting charge. Coupling the battery in parallel with a Super Capacitor provides superior power management in many short interval and high power applications, and extends the life and operational range of the battery.

How do Cellergy Super Capacitors differ from other EDLC capacitors?

Cellergy specialises in Aqueous Electrolyte Pulse Application Super Capacitors, which provide a superior product at a reduced cost. Thanks to the innovative patented printing technique and automated manufacturing process, Cellergy Super Capacitors are more uniform compared to competitors and are produced at a more cost-effective price than comparable EDLC's. Cellergy is also able to produce Super Capacitors to specific dimensions (for high volume production) and voltage, making them uniquely customizable. Cellergy produces the smallest footprint (12x12.5mm) on the market, so even space-limited designs can be accommodated. The Cellergy Super Capacitors benefits:

  • Cost effective product– Automated manufacturing process and unique screen printing technique brings a reduced cost to the customer
  • Customizable to required specifications– Bipolar printing process can be repeated multiple times to attain specific dimensions and voltage
  • Offers the widest voltage range available on the market-Suitable for voltages of between 1.4 – 18 Volts with high capacitance
  • Strong performance at low temperatures– The ability to perform at temperatures that reach a low of -40C due to low Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR)
  • Reach final stable leakage current value in 12 hours- Compared to the 72 hours of competitor organic electrolyte Super Capacitors
  • Better uniformityof products- Due to the automatic multi-layered cell construction instead of the individual cell construction used by competitors
  • Almost no balancing resistorsrequired- In contrast to organic electrolyte based Super Capacitors
  • Environmentally friendly- Protects natural resources by extending battery life, which leads to less frequent battery replacements. In addition, Cellergy Super Capacitors consist of environmentally friendly materials (RoHS and REACH certified)
  • Fewer capacitors needed– One Super Capacitor can be used in place of many regular capacitors
  • No derating– What you see in the specifications is what you receive, and polarity is not a concern
  • Memory backupIn order to bridge short power interruptions and avoid memory loss

The relatively high price of the Super Capacitors has tended to limit their use to those applications that are less price-sensitive (PCMCIA cards, medical devices, GSM burst transmission). Cellergy Super Capacitors are cost-effective and therefore useful and affordable for most consumer markets, including but not limited to the mobile applications market.

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What are the outstanding features of Cellergy Super Capacitors?

  • High surface area activated carbon (about 2000 sqm per gram) with aqueous electrolyte leading to high capacitance and low internal resistance (ESR)
  • High energy density
  • Multi-range voltage from 1.4V up to 18V
  • Fast charge due to low ESR
  • High instantaneous current delivery (high power density)
  • Nearly infinite charge/discharge cycling
  • Wide range of operating temperatures -40˚C to +70˚C
  • Environmentally friendly, RoHS and REACH compliant
  • Low profile (prismatic supercapacitors); wide footprint capability
  • Special low ESR, extra capacitance low profile (thickness) and low Leakage products are available upon request

Why are Cellergy Super Capacitors well-suited for mobile applications?

Mobile devices tend to be characterized by high pulse transmission power needs. When the battery current increases during the pulse periods, output/load voltage drops, battery efficiency and available capacitance decreases, causing the battery operational life time to be shortened. By connecting Cellergy Super Capacitors in parallel to the battery, the load is levelled by reducing voltage drop, increasing battery efficiency and mobile device operating time. Cellergy EDLC Super Capacitors are suited to meet both the technological and economic requirements of portable/mobile (nomad) digital consumer applications. This includes cameras, cell phones, pagers, and mp3 players. These devices are high volume mass market products within a competitive market. Manufacturers are under constant pressure to reduce costs, size and weight to make their product more attractive and competitive. Cellergy’s proprietary screen printing technique, automated process and ability to produce low footprint products of any needed size and shape make it the ideal, affordable and useful addition to these devices.

Can Cellergy Supercapacitors be connected in series to achieve higher voltage?

Yes, Cellergy Supercapacitors can be connected in series to achieve higher voltage. You can connect Cellergy Supercapacitors in series without adding balancing resistors.

Do Cellergy Super Capacitors need balancing resistors when connected in series?

No, Cellergy Super Capacitors have narrow distribution of leakage currents between cells. This character eliminates the requirement for balancing resistors.

What happens if there is overvoltage on Super Capacitors?

If you apply more than the rated voltage, the electrolyte might be electrolyzed, deteriorating the performance of the Super Capacitors. If there is low overvoltage for a limited time, the Super Capacitor will still function, although it might suffer slight deterioration.

Do Cellergy Super Capacitors have polarity?

No. Cellergy Super Capacitors do not have polarity as electrodes are symmetrical. Voltage is applied to the capacitors during Cellergy’s qualification tests and the capacitor may be sent to the customer with residual voltage that remains after shortening the cells. Plus / minus signs are designated in accordance with Cellergy Q&R procedures.

Are Cellergy Super Capacitors delivered discharged?

Yes, Cellergy Super Capacitors are delivered to customers discharged, but a small residual voltage could remain.

How Cellergy parts are shipped to customers?

See Cellergy specifications document, pages 10-12.

Do Cellergy Super Capacitors have limits on charge/discharge current?

No, Cellergy Super Capacitors do not have limits on charge/discharge current. We suggest limiting the charge current in order to protect the power supply that charges the Super Capacitor.

What are the specifications for the Cellergy Super Capacitor?

Working voltage: 1.4-18 Volt Derating: Not required Capacitance: 7-100’s of mF Footprint: Selectable, down to 12mm by 12.5mm Operating Temperatures: -40 ⁰ C to + 70 ⁰C ESR: 10's-100's m Ω Safety features: Environmentally friendly materials, Power: 100’s of mW (up to 15 W)

What temperature range does Cellergy offer?

The Cellergy Super-capacitors are able to perform well in the temperature range of -40 ⁰C to 70⁰C. B atteries are inefficient at low temperature ranges since their internal resistance increases due to the slower kinetics of the chemical reaction in the battery. Cellergy Super-capacitors perform well even at low temperatures – by incorporating them into a system in parallel with the battery, the operating range is extended for the device.

Are Cellergy Super-capacitors environmentally friendly?

Yes they are. Cellergy uses environmentally friendly products to produce their Super Capacitors. The products are RoHS and REACH certified. Using Super Capacitors also contributes to the protection of natural resources by extending battery life, less frequent battery replacements, and by using fewer materials since one Super Capacitor replaces many common capacitors.

What is the benefit of a reduced voltage drop?

A battery undergoes a voltage drop under drain conditions. With its limited power, the battery often cannot supply the required power while still retaining its open circuit voltage (OCV). The larger the load on the battery the larger the voltage drop of the battery. Often, a battery must supply high power at short pulse widths, when the voltage drop is too high the voltage on the load might be lower than required by the end product. High current pulses drawn from the battery causes a decrease in the battery energy, shortening its work life. The Super-capacitor connected to the battery in parallel produces a voltage damping effect. The smaller voltage drop of the battery leads to:

  • Better power management
  • P rolonged battery lifetime
  • Improved battery based device performance

What are common electronic device power challenges that Cellergy Super Capacitors can improve?

Cellergy Super Capacitors provide the cost- effective solution to many electronic device power challenges, such as:

  • High voltage drop
  • Low current pulses
  • Low output voltage as a result of internal resistance in power supply
  • Fast battery deterioration
  • High frequency of batteries replacement
  • Increased passivation layer (in Lithium batteries)
  • Voltage delay phenomenon