Supercapacitors, or ultracapacitors, are an alternative to rechargeable batteries, offering quicker charge and release times but lower capacity. Estonian manufacturer Skeleton Technologies’ new production line in Saxony, Germany, can produce up to 4,000,000 supercapacitor cells per year, which, according to the company, makes it the biggest in Europe.
The new facility should make it easier for Skeleton Technologies to serve its customer base, which includes German automotive manufacturers, global engineering companies, and also the European Space Agency.
Supercapacitors, also known as ultracapacitors, are an alternative to rechargeable batteries, offering quicker charge and release times but lower capacity.
Skeleton’s success in the field is based on its patented curved graphene, which, according to the company, is one of the key factors in achieving the superior energy density of supercapacitors compared with competitors that use organic pre-cursor materials, mostly carbon made from coconut.
The firm’s co-founder and COO, Oliver Ahlberg, tells ZDNet that although there is always a scale-up process involved when first starting a factory, the new facility is already well within the capacity at which the company plans to operate.
“Over the summer we will, however, build a new tower for the slurry mixing equipment that will further improve the process speed and efficiency,” he added.
Ahlberg says the patented curved graphene-based ultracapacitors provide four times the power density and up to twice the energy density of its competitors, which include manufacturers such as Maxwell Technologies, Ioxus, and LS MTRON.
“Ultracapacitors are already the more economical choice for many applications, especially where the power need doesn’t exceed 30 seconds. However, we are hard at work also increasing the energy density,” Ahlberg says.
“Ultracapacitors will never fully replace batteries, but increased energy density will open doors to a significantly higher number of uses for ultracapacitors, like 48V automotive mild hybrid [engines]. The road to fully electric will have a hybrid stepping stone in between, and we think that ultracapacitor-based hybrid systems will be the key.”
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