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Maxwell Introduces Higher Voltage, Longer-Lasting Ultracapacitors


Maxwell Technologies has launched the first of a new family of large-cell ultracapacitor cells and multi-cell modules with increased energy storage and power delivery per unit volume and double the lifecycle of its earlier products.

The announcement comes the week before the 5th International Advanced Automotive Battery & Ultracapacitor Conference.

Maxwell’s new 2.7-volt, BOOSTCAP MC2600 2,600-farad large cell ultracapacitor, and the BMOD2600-16 16-volt Ultracap module (incorporating six MC2600 cells) offer increased voltage from Maxwell’s older ultracapacitors and double the duty cycles from 500,000 to one million.

New Maxwell Ultracapacitors
 MC2600 (cell)BMOD2600 (module)
Capacitance (farads)2,600430
Max Energy (Whr/kg)5.63.1
Power density (W/kg)4,1001,800
Peak Power density (W/kg)10,4005,200

These new products meet or exceed demanding automotive application requirements for both watt-hours of energy storage and watts of power delivery per kilogram, and will perform reliably for more than one million discharge-recharge cycles at 2.7 volts. The proprietary technology on which they are based also significantly reduces material and production cost, positioning Maxwell to achieve our stated goal of pricing large cell ultracapacitors at one cent per farad in million-cell annual volumes.

—Richard Smith, Maxwell’s executive vice president for strategic business development

In March, Maxwell won a next-generation ultracapacitor cell and module development contract from the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), an entity formed by DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to strengthen the domestic auto industry's technology base through cooperative research. (Earlier post.)

As part of the USABC contract, Maxwell’s MC2600 and the proposed auto-specific 48-volt modules it is developing will undergo extensive testing for energy capacity, pulse power, abuse tolerance, calendar life and cycle life at DOE’s Sandia and Idaho national laboratories.



I'm assuming that the capacitance figures were switched. I can't judge the other figures however.


No, according to Maxwell, the capacitance figures are correct. I’ll check with the company. In the meantime, there is a Maxwell application note (How to Determine the Appropriate Size Ultracapacitor for Your Application) that gets into some of the basic equations.


Here’s the basics:

The capacitance (F) rating of a capacitor needs to be associated with a voltage (V). Energy stored in a cell is calculated by the following formula: J (Joule or wattsec) = ½ * F * V^2 voltage.

So with the 2.7-volt cell, the energy stored is J = ½ *2600 * 2.7^2 = 9.48k wattsec.

The BMOD2600 has 6 cells wired in series so the voltage is 2.7V * 6 = 16.2V and the capacitance is 2600F/6 = 433F. Therefore the energy stored by this module is 6 times the energy in the single cell.

J = ½ * 433 *16.2^2 = 56.8k wattsec. 56.8kJ/6 = 9.47k wattsec.

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