Supercapacitors are a curiously neglected aspect of electronics and electrical engineering with a multi-billion dollar market rapidly emerging. Supercapacitors, sometimes called ultracapacitors, are electrostatic, not electrochemical devices.
Unlike batteries, they can be fully discharged for transport and maintenance. Their behavior is more predictable and they are more tolerant of faults and damage. In the past, they have been little used because they are expensive and they hold one tenth of the electricity per unit of volume or weight.
Greener, safer versions of supercapacitors are now offered by nearly 50% of suppliers and they are less inferior in performance. Indeed in some respects they have improved performance over traditional supercapacitors. These use more benign organic or inorganic solvents or they use ionic liquids where there is no solvent and solute.
Little wonder that the leaders in supercapacitors are growing sales at 30% yearly nowadays. Supercapacitors are improving much faster than lithium-ion batteries and their marketing is now more imaginative, many applications not involving batteries being opened up. The future of supercapacitors may involve rivaling the size of the lithium-ion battery market within twenty years particularly as use in vehicles and grid applications take off.
The bottom line is that almost everywhere you see next generation electronic and power technology you see supercapacitors and supercabatteries being fitted or planned because of superior performance, cost-over-life and fit-and-forget.
Global Information (GII) presents the highlights from three significant market research reports cover the supercapacitor market.
Supercapacitor / Ultracapacitor Strategies and Emerging Applications 2013-2025
Many more supercapacitor variants are now available. There is now almost a continuum of devices between conventional electrolytic capacitors and rechargeable batteries as we explain in the report. The analysis of 78 supercapacitor manufacturers and putative manufacturers in this report reveals, for example, how battery manufacturers and conventional capacitor manufacturers are entering the business of devices intermediate between the two. However, rather surprisingly, most of the intermediate devices are developed and manufactured by companies not in either conventional capacitors or batteries.
Free sample pages from the full document are available at http://www.giiresearch.com/report/ix252866-supercapacitor-ultracapacitor-strategies-emerging.html
Electrochemical Double Layer Capacitors: Supercapacitors 2013-2023
55% of the manufacturers and intending manufacturers of supercapacitors/supercabatteries (EDLC, AEDLC) are in East Asia, 28% are in North America but Europe is fast asleep at only 7%. Yet, being used for an increasing number of purposes in electric vehicles, mobile phones, energy harvesting, renewable energy and other products of the future, the supercapacitor market is expected to surpass $11 billion in ten years with considerable upside potential.
Free sample pages from the full document are available at http://www.giiresearch.com/report/ix239694-electrochemical-double-layer-capacitors.html
Batteries and Supercapacitors for the Smart Grid -2013
The grid storage market will reach $6.1 billion by 2018 making energy storage one of the fastest growing opportunities in the smart grid industry. Supercapacitors will become integral to grid storage, as costs go down and capacities increase.
By 2018, supercaps will generate $1.1 billion in revenues from grid-storage, especially regenerative braking on grid-attached light rail and frequency regulation. Here supercaps can result in a 30% reduction in electrical costs. The long lifetimes and near-zero maintenance for supercapacitors make them attractive for such applications. Supercaps will improve performance with new materials; including nano-structured metal oxides, perovoskites, nanotubes and graphene increasing capacity 5-10 times compared to activated-carbon supercapacitors.
The default option for grid batteries today is lead-acid, accounting for more than 55% of revenues from grid batteries currently. By 2018, this share will decline to around 30% as new grid battery technologies become commercialized. The lead-acid battery will itself get an upgrade; carbon electrodes, promising a 4x performance improvement. In addition, the ultrabattery, with combination lead/carbon electrodes will compete for grid-storage markets. In 2018, lead-carbon batteries/ultrabatteries will generate around $300 million in revenues.
Grid storage for remote locations, microgrids and cell phone towers are already economically viable. This is driving demand for lead-acid and Zebra (sodium-nickel-chloride) batteries. Another wave of storage deployment is about to occur on the customer side of the meter for power-quality, peak-shaving and grid-stability applications creating demand for flow and lithium-ion batteries. During this second wave the penetration of renewables will rise above 20%, making grid storage necessary to stabilize the grid because of intermittent generation. A final wave of grid storage is expected for retail peak shifting applications.
Although lithium-ion batteries are receiving considerable attention, it is immature and high cost and its current growth relies on government subsidies. When subsidies disappear, sodium-sulfur and Zebra batteries will be a better deal for power companies and large end users than lithium-ion. The best hope for lithium batteries is where a supplier who is committed to lithium sells it as part of a comprehensive solution such as for smart buildings. Jonson Controls and SAFT are doing this. Revenues from lithium batteries are expected to reach $775 million by 2018.
This report provides analysis of worldwide grid-storage markets products including lead-acid, lead-carbon, lithium-ion, sodium-sulfur, sodium-nickel-chloride, and flow batteries, along with ultrabatteries and supercapacitors. Retail, wholesale and microgrid opportunities are covered, along with how frequency regulation, regenerative energy capture and renewable power integration, will impact demand for grid storage.
Companies discussed include: Advanced Battery, Altair, Ambri, Aquion, Axion, Boston Power, C&D , Cellennium, Cellstrom, China BAK, China Ritar Power, Cobasys, Deeya Energy, Ecoult, Energ2, Enersys, Exide, Fiamm Sonik, Firefly, Sonik, GE, GeoBattery, Hitachi, Johnson Controls, Kyushu Electric, Maxwell, Mitsubishi, NEC, Nesscap, Nexeon, Navitas, NGK, Panasonic/Sanyo, Premium Power, Prudent Energy, REDT, Revolt, SAFT, Siemens, Sumitomo, TEPCO, Ultralife, V-Fuel, Wanxiang and ZBB