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Ultracapacitors: The Gems of Hybrid Energy Storage (PHOTOS)

Ultracapacitors: The Gems of Hybrid Energy Storage (PHOTOS)

| Jessica Baris, Communications Specialist and Copywriter

La Jolla is Spanish for "the jewel," a name well-suited for San Diego's dazzling ocean side neighborhood, where last week's Next-Generation Energy Storage 2016 conference was held. Dr. Kimberly McGrath, Maxwell's director of business development, addressed a crowd of energy storage professionals on the topic of increasing the value of grid energy storage with hybrid approaches—specifically, ultracapacitors with batteries.

"Ultracapacitors and batteries are highly complementary technologies within a hybrid system," said Dr. McGrath. "The ultracapacitors fulfill short duration, high power application needs such as renewables intermittency smoothing and frequency response, while the batteries are well-suited for longer duration applications requiring more energy, such as time shifting."

The audience members ranged from engineers and principal scientists to device manufacturers and academics. Dr. McGrath summarized some of Maxwell's key grid demonstration projects currently underway, including Duke Energy's recent deployment of a hybrid battery-ultracapacitor energy storage system at its distribution substation in Gaston County, N.C.

Dr. McGrath touched on the following points to familiarize the audience with ultracapacitor cell technology:

  • Ultracapacitors and batteries can be combined to increase the overall value of the energy storage system
  • Ultracapacitors help to keep peak power loads off the batteries
  • Like batteries, ultracapacitors are scalable
  • Ultracapacitors offer the advantages of longer lifetime and wider operating temperature range

Attendees participated in a Q&A session following the presentation and had the opportunity to attend additional talks on topics including mobile power, next-generation chemistries and battery design, and advances in materials, packs, testing and charging.

The audience's piqued interest in the ultracapacitor-battery hybrid approach made me think that ultracapacitors are the gems of energy storage technology, waiting for their many facets of energy efficiency to be unlocked for the future grid.

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Mike EverettJessica Baris
Communications Specialist and Copywriter
About this author

Jessica A. Baris is communications specialist and copywriter at Maxwell Technologies and enjoys telling a good story. Her background includes writing and editing for the high-tech, construction, and meetings and conventions industries. A San Diego native, Jessica earned a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of California, San Diego and a Master of Arts in rhetoric and writing from San Diego State University.

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