VIDEO and PHOTOS: Maxwell Technologies at the Flash Memory Summit
August 17, 2015 | Nathan Waissman, Senior Sales Applications Engineer
Last week I attended the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, California, and had the opportunity to spend time meeting people whose job it is to protect critical data.
Tackling this important task is no easy feat. Traditionally, batteries are the go-to energy storage technology for UPS (uninterruptible power supply) and voltage stabilization in data-sensitive applications. I enjoy participating in the Flash Memory Summit because it is an excellent opportunity to educate the industry about ultracapacitor technology as an alternative or as a supplement backup energy storage system.
Ultracapacitors can store enough energy to backup critical data. Backup can be done on a small scale, such as on a desktop computer, and on a large scale, such as big data centers where there are hundreds of servers. Typically, our 56-volt module (in series parallel combinations) can provide backup power for data centers and other large-scale setups to give enough time for the backup generator to start providing seamless transition from grid supplied energy to a generator supplied energy. This function is a "bridging" application while in other cases, the energy stored in the ultracapacitor can be used to backup cache-to-flash for "graceful" a.k.a. controlled shutdown of the server(s) after the data has been backed up.
The advantages of using ultracapacitors is that they require virtually no maintenance, offer a far wider operating temperature range, much longer cycle life than batteries, and have superior safety and serviceability since they can be discharged down to zero without an adverse effect on service.
On average, batteries need to be replaced three to four times more often than the ultracapacitor. On top of that, disposal of batteries requires an extra cost due to the toxic lead they contain. In contrast, ultracapacitors are electrostatic devices containing no lead, and the disposal can be as simple as incineration in an authorized facility.
Batteries are excellent energy storage devices for applications that require energy over long periods of time. Ultracapacitors can provide quick bursts of energy, or high power, at critical points in time when power fails or fluctuates and important data needs to be preserved.
Think of the battery as a marathon runner and the ultracapacitor as a sprinter. Both have their place in the right race.
Senior Sales Applications Engineer
About this author
Nathan Waissman, Maxwell’s senior sales applications engineer, has over 20 years of experience in semiconductors, electronics design, testing, teams management and customer engagement on technical and business issues from executive level to technical staff. Prior to joining Maxwell, Nathan held management positions in MEMS manufacturing companies in North America (Freescale, Lumedyne Technologies). He has also held positions as technical business development manager and director of technical sales. Nathan holds a BSEE from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a concentration in control systems and an MBA from the University of Phoenix with a concentration in international marketing and project management. Nathan is a trilingual world traveler with diverse multicultural exposure. In 2012, Nathan relocated to San Diego from Northern California’s Bay Area.
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