Saft and ESMA to Cooperate on Supercapacitor Development, Production and Commercialization; Heavy Diesels First Target
The agreement enables Saft to add the new supercapacitor technology to its portfolio of leading edge battery technologies. The first results will be seen later in 2009, when Saft’s US manufacturing facility in Valdosta, GA begins production of a new generation of asymmetric nickel supercapacitors that will work in combination with batteries on heavy vehicles in a large variety of markets including, but not limited to, industry or public transportation.
By providing effective and reliable starting power for large diesel engines at low temperatures or in frequent stop-start usage the supercapacitors will allow the vehicle battery to be optimized for the application.
In addition to the main cooperative agreement with ESMA, Saft has also signed a distribution agreement for the supercapacitors with KBi (Kold Ban International), a US company specializing in diesel engine starting systems that is already an established ESMA distributor for North America.
Saft manufacturers a range of advanced batteries for a large range of applications using lithium and nickel chemistries, including lithium-ion, lithium-thionyl chloride (Li-SOCl2), lithium-sulfur dioxide (Li-SO2), lithium-manganese dioxide (Li-MnO2), nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd), nickel-hydrogen (Ni-H2), and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH).
ESMA’s patented asymmetric nickel capacitors feature one battery electrode mated with a double layer charge storage (capacitor) electrode. This combination offers a number of advantages over the standard, more common symmetric design including: improved safety; higher specific energy; more stable operating voltage; lower materials and manufacturing costs; voltage self-balancing in high-voltage strings of capacitor cells.
The design has an important synergy with Saft’s manufacturing capabilities since the construction is similar to that used in nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd) cells, so ESMA’s supercapacitors can be manufactured on existing Saft production lines.
Since a supercapacitor stores energy electrostatically, with no physical changes taking place, it can have a service life of a million or more charge/discharge cycles, with no maintenance required. Furthermore, the performance of a supercapacitor remains stable over a very wide temperature range (typically -40 °C to +70 °C).
This makes them ideally suited for providing cranking power for starting the engines of heavy vehicles at very low temperatures, especially when fitted to vehicle fleets that need to start and stop their engines many times during a shift. Supercapacitors can also be applied in numerous other applications for peak power and energy storage.
There are also currently a number of investigations underway in pairing supercapacitor and battery technology in energy storage systems for hybrid and electric drive vehicles.