Maxwell Technologies

Maxwell Ultracapacitor Backup Power Solutions

With their long operational lifetime with little or no maintenance, stable operation at extreme temperatures (-40C to +65C), , ultracapacitors are supporting improved solutions for applications that need instantly available backup power in the event of grid power disturbances or outages. Examples include uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, low-voltage emergency lighting and board-mounted backup in solid state disk drives (SSD) used in enterprise computing systems. Additionally, their ability to charge and discharge in as little as fractions of a second means higher availability due to charging or conditioning of batteries.

Maxwell Ultracapacitor Backup Power Applications:

Maxwell Technologies offers the most comprehensive ultracapacitor product line for the backup power industry.

  • Uninterruptible Power Supplies – These backup power systems are deployed to ensure a continuous power supply for mission critical applications such as network computer servers, telecommunications, data centers, hospitals and factories. These systems typically employ long-term power sources, including lead-acid batteries, diesel generators, micro turbines and fuel cells that can keep critical systems operating for hours in the event of a power failure. However, of those sources, only batteries can be instantly available at the moment power fails; the others need up to a minute to start up and reach their nominal power output. Industry statistics show that more than 90 percent of power disturbances last less than one second, so the UPS is most often called upon to ride through those frequent, brief, events, which can glitch computers, drop calls, upset sensitive medical instruments or disrupt assembly lines. Particularly in areas where grid power is unstable, those frequent hits shorten battery life, so system designers are increasingly turning to ultracapacitors, which can handle short-term disturbances or provide the seconds of power required for a generator or fuel cell to fire up for up to 15 years without maintenance or replacement.
  • Board-mounted backup – Smaller scale backup power is required on printed circuit boards to ensure that a variety of functions remain active – real-time clocks, memory buffers, etc. -- during a power loss or for graceful shutdown of a system. Large enterprise computing installations are increasingly relying on solid state disk drives for flash memory in applications such as credit card transaction processing. Even a very brief power interruption can cause critical data to be lost, so absolute power security is a requirement. Several SSD producers are integrating Maxwell’s compact, prismatic PC10 and HC series ultracapacitors into the drives themselves to provide “power loss protection” – a few seconds of standby power to allow cached data to be stored to memory in an orderly shutdown process. Many electronic systems require real-time clocks and memory buffers which can also use small capacitors for continued operation.
  • Emergency lighting – Although they have limited energy storage capacity, ultracapacitors when matched with LEDs can power emergency lighting for hours in the event of a power failure.
  • Remote Installations – Remotely located systems need reliable backup power to ensure continuous and safe operation in the event of power failure, but maintenance visits to monitor or replace batteries are difficult and expensive. Ultracapacitors can handle brief power requirements or provide bridge power to avoid service interruptions until primary backup power sources can take over.

Our commitment is to help our worldwide customers design and implement ultracapacitor solutions for existing and unique heavy lifting needs.