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Ultracapacitors in Your Daily Life: Keeping Wind Turbines Turning

Ultracapacitors in Your Daily Life: Keeping Wind Turbines Turning

| Dennis Flynn, Director of Corporate Marketing

During a long drive, you’ve probably noticed wind turbines spinning their blades in the distance. What you may not know is wind turbines can help power your everyday life. According to AWEA, over 40 percent of the more than 3,000 electricity providers in the U.S. supply electricity from wind power. So the next time you turn on your television, it just may be thanks to the wind.  

However, like all power sources, wind turbines are vulnerable and require a fail-safe operating system. To ensure that wind turbines keep turning and producing power, turbine manufacturers are choosing more reliable energy storage systems to power pitch control systems, to keep maintenance at a minimum and improve uptime. More developers are transitioning from purely battery-based systems of the past to ultracapacitor-based systems. Ultracapacitors, sometimes called supercapacitors, are dependable energy storage devices that offer a wider operating temperature range, a longer lifetime and lower maintenance than batteries. Although batteries are efficient in many applications, ultracapacitors have an advantage for supporting a wind turbine’s pitch control system, providing technician safety and operation safety.

In the event of a total power failure or periods of maintenance, safety is a top concern. To enhance safety levels, pitch control systems are equipped with ultracapacitors that immediately ensure the reliable functioning of the fast blade pitch system. Batteries need to be replaced more frequently than ultracapacitors, which requires wind turbine technicians to actually climb the turbine. Additionally, these replacements can sometimes occur during periods of extreme weather. For turbine developers, ultracapacitors are a safer and more reliable solution to ensure wind turbines keep generating power.

While manufacturers can choose to use ultracapacitors from the start, turbine operators and wind farm owners may have battery-based systems they want to switch for an ultracapacitor-based system. Luckily, it’s an easy swap to implement an ultracapacitor-based retrofit module in turbines that are battery-based. Retrofitting a battery system with ultracapacitors offers significant cost savings in addition to reduced safety concerns and improved operational reliability. To see how ultracapacitors are used inside of wind turbines, view our video: "What You Need to Know About Ultracapacitors For Wind Turbines.”

Dennis Flynn
Director of Corporate Marketing
About this author

Dennis Flynn has been with Maxwell Technologies, Inc. for four years as Director of Corporate Marketing. Prior to joining Maxwell he authored a book on branding called Brand Clout: Maintaining Relevance & Profitability Amidst Constant Change. He founded two companies focused on strategic marketing and has consulted with prestigious technology firms such as Toshiba and Gateway Computers. He also served as a Senior Fellow at The Media Center in Washington, D.C.

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