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SUPERCAPACITOR: A Future of Energy


Submitted to

Submitted by

Department of Electrical Engineering

Malaviya National Institute of Technology

Durgesh Maneshwar
ID- 2012UEE1168

In general, a capacitor is a device which is used to store the
charge in an electrical circuit. Basically a capacitor is made up
of two conductors separated by an insulator called dielectric.
A supercapacitor is a high-capacity electrochemical capacitor
with capacitance values much higher than other capacitors.
Also known as ultracapacitors or double-layer capacitors.


An supercapacitor cell basically consists
of two electrodes, a separator, and an

Electrodes are made up of a metallic

collector, which is the high conducting
part, and of an active material, which is
the high surface area part.
The two electrodes are separated by a
membrane, the separator, which allows
the mobility of the charged ions but
forbids the electronic conductance. Then
the system is impregnated with an

Working voltage is determined by

decomposition voltage of electrolyte and
temperature, current intensity and
required lifetime.

Electrochemical inert materials with the highest specific
surface area (like carbon) are utilized for electrodes in order to
form a double layer with a maximum number of electrolyte
The geometrical size of carbon sheets is taken in such a way
that they have a very high surface area. The highly porous
carbon can store more energy than any other electrolytic
When the voltage is applied to positive plate, it attracts
negative ions from electrolyte. When the voltage is applied to
negative plate, it attracts positive ions from electrolyte.
Therefore, there is a formation of a layer of ions on both sides
of the plate. This is called Double layer formation.

The ions are then stored near the surface of carbon

The purpose of having
separator is to prevent the
charges moving across the
The amount of energy stored
is very large as compared to
standard capacitor because of
the enormous surface area
created by the porous carbon
electrodes and the small
charge separation created by
the dielectric separator.
The distance between the
plates is in the order of

Supercapacitor store charge electrostatically and there
is no transfer of charge between electrode and
Supercapacitor utilize an electrochemical double-layer
of charge to store energy. As voltage is applied,
charge accumulates on the electrode surfaces.
These achieve very high cycling stabilities.
Different forms of carbon materials that can be used to
store charge in Supercapacitor electrodes are
activated carbons, carbon aerogels, and carbon

Comparison With Batteries

Very high rates of charge and discharge
Battery stores energy in a chemical reaction. That is, ions
are actually introduced inside the electrodes atomic
structure. Because ions in supercapacitors only cling on the
plates, this results in much faster charge and discharge

Little degradation over hundreds of thousands of cycles

Batteries degrade within a few thousand charge-discharge
cycles. Supercapacitors can have more than 300,000
charging cycles, which is far more than a battery can handle.

Can effectively fulfil the requirement of high current
pulses that can kill a battery if used instead.
Batteries fail where high charging discharging takes place
whereas Supercapacitor fares extremely well.
Supercapacitors are much more effective at rapid,
regenerative energy storage than batteries


Differ in constructional features with respect to conventional capacitors.
Has ability to store tremendous charge.
Capacitance ranges up to 5000F.
Supercapacitors are able to attain greater energy densities while still
maintaining the characteristic high power density of conventional
Conventional capacitors have relatively high power densities, but
relatively low energy densities when compared to batteries. That is, a
battery can store more total energy than a capacitor, but it cannot deliver
it very quickly, which means its power density is low.

Study on Ultracapacitor in
Based on IEEE Research Paper
Wang Qi, Sun Yu-kun, Huang Yong-hong
School of Electrical and Information Engineering, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang

Need of Supercapacitor(SC)
HEV- Hybrid Electric Vehicle
HES- Hybrid Energy Storage System
Hybrid electric vehicles is currently one of the most
favorable technologies and is attracting more and more
The single battery Energy System leads to low driving
range as well as poor acceleration performance.
The common solution is to design a large battery by
increasing the size of battery to meet the requirements of
high power density.
This leads to introduction of SC as the auxiliary energy
storage system of HEV.

Why Supercapacitor?
UC can achieve charging and discharging with high current
due to its high power density, good dynamic characteristics
and high cycle efficiency, so it can meet the high power
requirements of battery during charging and discharging
Long life.

Hybrid Energy System

In HES, SC is the auxiliary energy system, and the battery
is the main energy system. So with the SC, the HES can
make the best of characteristics of high energy density of
battery and high power density of SC.
At the same time, HES also can minimize the deficiencies of
battery and SC, and it will undoubtedly enhance the
performance of the energy storage system of HEV.

Structure of HES
HES contains battery and UC, and this two energy storage
systems are connected in parallel.

Some benefits of using HES in Hybrid Electric

Vehicle are
With higher power density, supercapacitor can provide higher
bursts of power. Thus, vehicles acceleration performance
can be improved.
With combined battery and supercapacitor, the stress on
battery can be significantly reduced when subject to the high
current during charge or discharge, thus, the battery life can
be extended and the cost can be reduced accordingly.
With great efficiency and high charging rate during
regenerative braking when using supercapacitor, it can lead
to higher efficient in overall vehicle driving, or longer driving

The power management for HES

In the hybrid energy storage system, the required power is supplied
by the battery and the supercapacitor
Preq = Pba + Psc
Preq is the required power of the vehicle,
Preq is the power provided by the battery,
Psc is the power provided by the supercapacitor.
Power management means to split the power demand between
battery and supercapacitor to achieve optimal effect.

The power demanded by a vehicle is variable.
The peak power during acceleration is much larger than the
average power during constant-speed cruising.
During the constant-speed cruising, the battery can supply the
power demand, while the supercapacitor only works during the
acceleration process.
The ability of quick charging and discharging of the
supercapacitor makes it more suitable for supplying the high
frequency part of the power demand.
Due to the high charging efficiency of supercapacitor, it
absorbs the energy generated during regenerative braking

Recharging mobiles with newlydeveloped supercapacitor

Research by

Vanderbilt University (U.S.)

Why Supercapacitor in Mobile

Instead of storing energy in chemical reactions the way
batteries do, "supercapacitor" store electricity by
assembling ions on the surface of a porous material.
As a result, they tend to charge and discharge in
minutes, instead of hours, and operate for a few million
cycles, instead of a few thousand cycles like batteries.
Scientists have designed a novel supercapacitor that
could help develop cell phones that recharge themselves
in seconds.

Research Overview
Using porous silicon, a material with a controllable and
well-defined nanostructure is made .
Silicon is generally considered unsuitable for use in supercapacitors because it reacts readily with some of
chemicals in the electrolytes that provide the ions that
store the electrical charge.
Scientists coated the porous silicon surface with carbon.
Porous silicon passed through furnace, coated silicon had
turned from orange to purple or black.

After inspection it under a powerful scanning electron
microscope, it is found that it looked nearly identical to the
original material but it was coated by a layer of graphene a
few nanometres thick.
The researchers tested the coated material and found that
it had chemically stabilised the silicon surface.
When they used it to make super-capacitors, they found
that the graphene coating improved energy densities by
over few orders of magnitude compared to those made
from uncoated porous silicon and significantly better than
commercial super-capacitors.
Using this supercapacitor mobile is charged within a
But it is not found to be economical.

Supercapacitor Assisted
Regenerative Braking in Railway
Based on IEEE Research Paper by

Albert Killer, Andreas Armstorfer

(Kempten University of Applied Sciences, Germany)

The basic idea is to take advantage of the kinetic energy
which is available when the train is braking.
Supercapacitor is used to store regenerated energy
during braking which else would have been lost in form
of heat (or friction).

Working Principle
Braking & Charging: Train is braking,ultracapacitor is
charging with available energy.

Reusing Energy: The stored energy is used for

the next acceleration process.

A supercapacitor might be a huge leap over a common
batteries in some features but when it comes to price, it
still way behind batteries.
One of the major problem with supercapacitors could be
its ability to handle voltage. The electrolyte inside the
supercap would break down at a higher voltage

Future Scope
Supercapacitors have a future on the electric grid. To
leave a buffer for power surges, most transmission lines
today operate around 90% of their capacity. With the
help of supercapacitors to absorb power surges, these
transmission lines could run closer to its full capacity.
Supercapacitor might find its application where battery

After brief study on Supercapacitor ,we can conclude that
Supercapacitors have great potential for applications that
require a combination of high power, short charging time,
high cycling stability, and long shelf life. Supercapacitors
may emerge as the solution for many application-specific
power systems.
With developing technology,we can hope that it has
potential to tackle some of its drawback like high cost and
can replace batteries in future.