Graphene ultracapacitor company Skeleton Technologies secures €4M from KIC InnoEnergy; targeting 20 Wh/kg by 2020
European ultracapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies received a €4-million (US$4.4-million) investment from KIC InnoEnergy, an investment company dedicated to promoting sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe’s energy industry.
The €4m investment from KIC InnoEnergy—the shareholders of which include ABB, EDF, Iberdrola and Total—will be used to further develop the competitive advantage of Skeleton Technologies’ ultracapacitors. The company aims to reach the ambitious target of 20 Wh/kg energy density for its technology by 2020.
Skeleton Technologies’ devices are the only ultracapacitors to use a patented graphene material in their manufacture, allowing them to deliver twice the energy density and five times the power density of their competitors, the company said.
|Energy density. Source: Skeleton, May 2015. Click to enlarge.|
Skeleton Technologies, which on Tuesday was announced as a Global Cleantech 100 company, will use the KIC InnoEnergy investment to further optimize electrode and cell design to allow for higher working voltages. These developments will unlock the full performance capabilities of the company’s nanoporous carbide-derived carbon (CDC), also known as curved graphene.
CDC differs significantly from regular activated carbons, which are used by other ultracapacitor manufacturers. Featuring finely engineered, consistent pore size, this patented material guarantees a very large accessible surface area, and a perfect match for the electrolyte ions. This enables twice as much energy storage capacity and five times higher power performance compared to other ultracapacitors. The high degree of purity of curved graphene also ensures up to two times higher current tolerance, and four times lower resistance.
The investment was pledged as part of the €9.8-million Series B financing secured by Skeleton Technologies last year. With funds now in place, work will begin to develop electrodes that can fully capitalize on the performance advantages offered by CDC. These electrodes will then be integrated into smaller modules, reducing both the weight and cost of the final energy storage system.
When this work is complete, Skeleton Technologies expects to offer three times the performance/weight ratio of current market leading products at the same price. This milestone would play a significant role in accelerating the adoption of ultracapacitors across transport, industrial equipment and grid applications.
The development work will be undertaken in collaboration with partners who will independently evaluate the performance of the ultracapacitor modules, including Finnish electric drive train manufacturer Visedo OY.
Skeleton Technologies’ high-performance ultracapacitors are set to be launched into orbit as part of a European Space Agency project and have been incorporated in the world’s first Kinetic Recovery System (KERS) for freight vehicles. They are also available in an Engine State Module (ESM) for trucks (earlier post) and as part of a hybrid Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) for defence applications.