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Ultracapacitors Soon to Replace Many Batteries?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the zap-zap-zazp dept.

Power 415

einhverfr writes "According to an article in the IEEE Spectrun, the synergy between batteries and capacitors — two of the sturdiest and oldest components of electrical engineering — has been growing, to the point where ultracapacitors may soon be almost as indispensable to portable electricity as batteries are now. Some researchers expect to soon create capacitors capable of storing 50% as much energy as a lithium ion battery of the same size. Such capacitors could revolutionize many areas possibly from mobile computing (no worries about battery memory), electricity-powered vehicles, and more."

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HEY! (4, Funny)

mboverload (657893) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236023)

HEY!

I want my friggin 15 hour battery life laptop first! You promised!

What the engineers giveth... (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236239)

Microsoft taketh away.
 

Don't short it out... (4, Interesting)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236025)

...your fingers may become part of the capacitor.

Re:Don't short it out... (1, Interesting)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236457)

I dunno what exactly you mean by that but if it shorts out by natural circuit means as in a piece of metal touches both terminals on the capacity and it discharges half of the entire energy of a lithium ion battery all at once, UH OH! First it would probably arc enough to damage things around it. Second, if it doesn't them whatever metal takes the brunt of it would probably fly off in molten chunks. Don't say electrical shocks can't liquify and explode metal at the same time cuz I've got the burn marks in my arm and one of my tables to prove it. And third, I think that would release a bit of EM energy too so your HDD could be wiped.
It seems like the only advantages are that you can carry a full battery plus an extra amount of much less safely stored electricity and running the battery down to 0.0001% instead of 2%, which btw is extremely dangerous in the cold or for long periods of time because it will kill batteries so they can never be recharged again (that's happened to me too). This may be the dumbest idea ever.

Re:Don't short it out... (4, Funny)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236477)

Yeah, that's a good point. Because I'm sure the blueprints as drawn call for the capacitor to be stored as bare metal plates, with maybe some saran wrap protecting them.

can they replace shit? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236029)

A few years ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I
had to take a piss. As I entered the john a big beautiful all-American
football hero type, about twenty-five, came out of one of the booths.
I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he
washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was "straight" and
married - and in any case I was sure I wouldn't have a chance with
him.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated,
hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still
warm from his sturdy young ass. I found not only the smell but the
shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left
behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It
apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat,
stiff, and ruggedly textured. The real prize was a great feast of turd
- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as a man's wrist.

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and
wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd
always been a heavy rimmer and had lapped up more than one little
clump of shit, but that had been just an inevitable part of eating ass
and not an end in itself. Of course I'd had jerk-off fantasies of
devouring great loads of it (what rimmer hasn't), but I had never done
it. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound
turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy
and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of the world's
handsomest young stud.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both
hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled
like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the
consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit
without the benefit of a digestive tract?

I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it
smelled. I've found since then that shit nearly almost does.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into
my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big brown cock,
beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and
bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet
flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had
chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed
I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I
soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd
passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily,
sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My
only regret was the donor of this feast wasn't there to wash it down
with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the
cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more
delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with
the rich bitterness of shit.

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But
then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There
was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished
them out, rolled them into my handkerchief, and stashed them in my
briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the
shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever
unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an
unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom.

I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using
them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my
mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit
trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six
orgasms in the process.

I often think of that lovely young guy dropping solid gold out
of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could,
and at least once did, bring to a grateful shiteater.

Re:can they replace shit? (0, Offtopic)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236371)

At least someone formatted it so it fits nicely on the screen now.

Myth (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236033)

(no worries about battery memory)
 
I thought battery memory was a myth.

Re:Myth (5, Informative)

puck01 (207782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236073)

I believe it depends on the type of rechargeable. The nickel cadmium did. Lithium does not.

The problem I've had with all of them is their life span. After a year of regular use, they then to hold a fraction of their original charge. It appears ultracapacitors have a much longer life span. rock on

Re:Myth (2, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236097)

What gave you that idea? Nickel-cadmium batteries are obviously afflicted. What is a common misconception is that Nickel metal hydride batteries are also affected.

NiMH are also affected, in a different way. (2, Interesting)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236159)

NiMH can be screwed up by overcharging, with the end result exactly the same as the memory effect for NiCD: their capacity greatly reduced. This is my first-hand experience, not hearsay. You need fairly sophisticated charger for NiMH, the one that protects from overcharging. Mine didn't.

Re:NiMH are also affected, in a different way. (2, Informative)

Threni (635302) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236181)

Memory effect isn't the same as a battery with a reduced capacity though. You can fix some memory-damaged batteries by running then down and charging fully a few times. A screwed battery is just a screwed battery,however.

Re:NiMH are also affected, in a different way. (1)

porky_pig_jr (129948) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236339)

... Yes, *some*. I had enough NiCD in my life as well, and memory effect slowly crippled their capacity, and there was no way back. Did that trick you've mentioned. Never worked. At least NiMH are stable, with overcharging-protecting charger.

Re:Myth (2, Insightful)

HairyCanary (688865) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236393)

Nickel-cadmium batteries are obviously afflicted.

I believe that has been debunked as an urban legend. Read more here: http://www.dansdata.com/gz011.htm [dansdata.com]

Re:Myth (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236513)

I believe that has been debunked as an urban legend.

Absolutely not. That guy lacks any real-world experience, so he assumes nobody uses batteries in a regular enough pattern to develop a memory effect... Absolutely incorrect.

The only thing he said that is really true is that people over-use the term "memory effect" all too often, when really they're just talking about the effects of cell aging.

Re:Myth (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236517)

If you read that carefully, he says that come nicad batteries do have a memory effect, its just that those particular cells aren't in common use anymore.

The reality though is that batteries do suffer from effects which are frequently referred to as a "memory effect." From a strict technical standpoint, it is different, but when you have a nimh battery that can only take 3 pictures go back to nearly 30 by a couple of full discharge charge cycles, it becomes obvious that nimh batteries do suffer from a similar problem at times.

Mostly because digital cameras in particular are far more sensitive to voltage drop offs than older devices are. The main advantage to the nimhs over the standard alkalines is that while an alkaline starts at 1.5v versus 1.2v for a nimh, the time that these batteries spend above 1v is very different. The nimhs will actually take longer to get to 1v than the alkalines will.

Re:Myth (4, Informative)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236757)

Hmmm, that's an expensive myth for professional cabinet makers, carpenters and other trades that use cordless screwguns on a daily basis. I personally go through an pair of 18v batteries every 6 months, even with tricks like blowing a fan across the charging battery to air cool it. Of course on a busy day I will run each battery through two charge cycles.

Re:Myth (1)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236775)

I used to know the answer to that, but I've forgotten.

Do they burst and leak fluid? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236041)

Do they burst and leak ballast (the fluid between the plates of a capacitor) like the capacitors commonly used in cheap motherboards today? I've heard that this ballast can be a serious health and environmental hazard. Of course, we all know that it often destroys motherboards by causing them to short circuit.

Re:Do they burst and leak fluid? (5, Interesting)

Sanat (702) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236163)

In the early 60's i was working part time at a TV repair shop to augment my military paycheck. I was working on one of those old huge TV's in the wooden cabinet type of thing. i had traced the problem to a paper electrolytic of fair proportion.

I changed the capacitor and confidently looked at the waveform on the scope knowing now that there would be no more ripple on the line but to my amazement there was even more ripple. I looked closely at my installation job noting it was across the right terminals and the polarity was correct.

I pulled my head out of the TV cabinet to look at the schematic to envision what else might be wrong when the capacitor blew up like a small bomb leaving a boiling hot liquid paste where moments before my head was peering.

It turned out that the paper cylinder was installed backwards on the capacitor reversing the positive and negative terminals.

Even if the paper cylinder was backwards... one can still note the metal case of the capacitor being the negative terminal. I failed to do this.

This occasion added a new check I made each time for every capacitor installed after that.

 

Re:Do they burst and leak fluid? (5, Interesting)

Two99Point80 (542678) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236253)

In about that same time period I was working on a homebuilt power supply for a ham transmitter. I had temporarily bridged in more filter capacity and shortly thereafter absentmindedly picked up the still-charged electrolytic by both leads - *one in each hand*. The PS was about 350 volts. Fortunately the muscle contractions flung the thing out of my hands. They say a learning experience is anything we survive...

Re:Do they burst and leak fluid? (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236325)

"What does not kill you makes you stronger". Well, that's not always true ... but if you're smart, it makes you wiser..

Re:Do they burst and leak fluid? (5, Funny)

BronsCon (927697) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236397)

Thank you. You just gave me a new sig.

Re:Do they burst and leak fluid? (5, Funny)

aerthling (796790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236691)

No, thank you.

Re:Do they burst and leak fluid? (1)

bigtreeman (565428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236685)

When I was a TA working on teleprinters (remember those?)
I was testing a teleprinter which had an odd tick.
I got a technician to check the problem,
he got the head technician,
he got the engineer,
they all had their heads over the open teleprinter
when 2 large electrolytic caps exploded (reverse polarity).
Bright yellow liquid all over the lot of them,
and yes possibly carcinogenic.

Oldest and sturdiest? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236193)

What a stupid thing to say. Modern capacitors are very different than old sturdy capacitors, and also from the less-than-surdy electrolytics which would often explode. The new caps have far better charge density and use very sophisticated dielectrics.

Saying that modern capacitors are like old ones is like comparing a carbon-fiber poles to a pole made by cutting down a tree.

One of the biggest challenges with large capacitcnce devices is getting rid of the effective series resistance (ESR). High energy capacitors of even a few years ago had such high ESRs that they'd take minutes to charge and could only deliver a few mA, making them suitable for nothing more than keeping CMOS clocks going etc.

Re:Oldest and sturdiest? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236613)

What a stupid thing to say.
Does being on slashdot mean that you must be rude?

How about:
I beg to disagree...
I think you might be mistaken...
I think you have your facts wrong...
etc

Re:Oldest and sturdiest? (5, Funny)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236655)

Does being on slashdot mean that you must be rude?

You must be new here... idiot. :)

caps in my photo flash head went bang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236381)

big head, not an on camera thingy.

made a god almighty bang, followed by leaking of grot out the bottom and a smell so rancid I had to stick the thing outside

Better tasers? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236045)

Perhaps they can use this technology to make more lethal tasers. Or at least tasers that give some good burns.

Re:Better tasers? (3, Funny)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236053)

Don't tase me bro!

Re:Better tasers? (0, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236373)

Then don't express your opinion. Doing so in the US will cause taze-ation, bro.

Re:Better tasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236491)

Why would you want a more "lethal" taser? Why not just use a gun?

Re:Better tasers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236503)

Your just taseing...

Re:Better tasers? (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236545)

Tasers already use capacitors. They are just used to store a temporary charge until it is released.

The capacitor is charge via the battery, and the charge is released over a shortened interval. Same deal with a camera flash.

The could already make tasers lethal in nearly all cases if they wanted to, but the point of them is that they aren't lethal in most cases.

obvious (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236047)

Some researchers expect to soon create capacitors capable of storing 50% as much energy as a lithium ion battery of the same size

Yes, but are they as incendiary as a SONY battery of the same size?

Re:obvious (3, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236107)

Well, I wouldn't expect so ... after all, Sony is the leading manufacturer of weapons-grade lithium bombs.

Re:obvious (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236201)

Its more of a boiling chemical explosion with capacitors then an incendiary. In either case hot stuff on lap != good.

Re:obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236407)

I dunno. Last time I was out at the bar, I had some hot stuff on my lap. That was pretty good.

Re:obvious (2, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236461)

Your opinion might change if you experience hot stuff again the next time you use the restroom.

Re:obvious (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236111)

short out one of those 12V 1 farad capacitors with a screwdriver and you'll get your answer

near-instant recharge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236121)

One of the cool thing about ultracapacitors is they recharge in seconds, not minutes or hours. Does anybody know how they compare to li-ion by weight?

Re:near-instant recharge (5, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236329)

The "supercaps" are designed on similar principles to batteries but with a very different physical design strategy. Capacitors are built like a roll of paper towel, and have a very large surface area of contact between the plates. (several square feet for a small capacitor in a computer) This allows them to very rapidly charge and discharge because the current is distrpbuted over a large surface area. They store their energy as an electrical charge, and as you draw from it, the "pressure" lowers in relation to how much energy you have removed.

Lead acid and other chemical batteries store their energy as a changed chemical state. The chemicals build and maintain a fixed charge on the plates. This allows a 12 volt battery to hold 12 volts until it is almost discharged, unlike capacitors whose voltage drops as they are discharged. It could be quite a challenge to deal with this change in basic operation. Capacitors have another advantage in that they are able to directly produce a very high voltage, limited only by the quality of the insulating materials they are made with. Capacitors can easily hold hundreds of volts, and there are industrial caps that can hold many thousands of volts.

There's an interesting similarity for those of you familiar with paintball. Capacitors behave almost exactly like high pressure nitrogen tanks - they have very high energy and can have a very high capacity, their "pressure" drops during use, and a regulator is required to output the correct pressure. (voltage) "CA" tanks (Constant Air, CO2) on the other hand rely not on high pressure, but on a supply of liquid CO2 in the tank which changes state as gas is drawn from it, boiling to return the tank to the preset pressure. (voltage) When the supply of liquid CO2 is used, it falls just like a dead battery.

Traditional paintball guns can run on a nitrogen tank if they are equipped with a regulator to knock the pressure down to a level the gun can handle. In the same way, electrically a cap could replace a battery with not a lot of modification, but the design is very different.

Paintball air tanks are roughly the same by volume, but a modern high capacity nitrogen tank can provide more shots than a high capacity CA tank. CA tank capacity is limited by its physical size - like nitro, the more liquid (gas for nitro) you can fit into it the higher the capacity. Nitro tanks have the added advantage of the max pressure the tank can take. Stronger tanks can hold more pressure for the same size, so increases in technology allow for a greater power density in Nitro but not in CA.

I expect the same should be true of caps vs batteries - you can only put so much electrolyte in a battery. You can look for better electrolytes, but you eventually run out of better solutions. Capacitors are limited by their electrolyte and the quality of the insulators. (a bit like the ability to hold pressure in a nitro tank) Assuming technology can continue to improve on that front, capacitors may catch up with or surpass traditional batteries in power density.

I'm not counting on it though. Although capacitor technology is far from reaching its pinacale, most of the major breakthroughs have already been made. The advent of carbon fiber made Nitro tanks the better deal. Unless a new technology of the same magnitude comes up for capacitors, I don't think we'll see them in our laptops anytime soon. There's also a safety factor when you are trying to push any form of pressure really high. Nitro tanks are downright dangerous if mishandled, and must be treated carefully under the best of conditions. Jacking up the voltate on your laptop's supercap to 100kv... even if it becomes practical, I don't know if I want to carry THAT around.

Re:near-instant recharge (1)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236669)

So, summing things up, you're saying that you work at the Department of Redundancy Department?

Re:near-instant recharge (1)

brantondaveperson (1023687) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236433)

Yeah I wouldn't be too sure about that. Take an existing AA NiMH 2100mAh battery for example. It'll deliver 2.1 Amps for one hour, so if you wanted to recharge it in one second you'd have to deliver 60 * 60 * 2.1 amps to it (assuming perfect efficiency) which is 7560amps. Which is an awful lot.

Re:near-instant recharge (2, Insightful)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236451)

Sure, that is a large current. The best way to charge an ultra capacitor is from another larger ultra-capacitor, which is charged slowly.

Re:near-instant recharge (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236535)

7560 amps average. The initial charge rate would be signifigantly larger.

Re:near-instant recharge (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236587)

Except that to hold the equivalent energy, the capacitor stores it as increasing voltage (since there is no conversion from electrical energy to chemical energy). So that 7560A will more likely have be a few tens of amps (perhaps) and a few tens of thousands of volts (haven't done the calcs for this).

Re:near-instant recharge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236651)

You can't store amps, retard

Re:near-instant recharge (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236663)

We're talking about recharging rate. Who's the retard?

Vaporware (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236125)

FTA

We think--and our work so far supports our theory--that by doing so, we can create a device that can hold up to 50 percent as much electrical energy as a comparably sized battery.
Why does stuff like this get so much press when it's actually nothing resembling anything that really happened?

I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (2, Insightful)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236127)

Why would I want to double the size of my battery to achieve the same power output as a Li-ion?

I could see this in devices where you need a high current for a short time, but not for slow drain devices. I personally want a battery (or whatever) that last longer than a Li-ion or Li-polymer in a notebook or phone while staying the same size or going smaller.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

minorproblem (891991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236203)

Although it would store 50% less energy it would only take a fraction of the time to charge.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

jim_deane (63059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236229)

For some people, a smaller battery capacity would be made up for by the potential of fully recharging it in under a minute.

There's already a power screwdriver that does this...I don't recall the brand. It may have less capacity than a Li-ion or NiMH driver, but you can recharge from empty to full in 20 seconds.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236265)

Exactly. I would absolutely prefer a capacitor over a battery for power tools such as a drill. Currently I still use a corded tools because I don't use them every day, so I need them to last for a couple decades, and batteries don't do that. More important, if you're in the middle of a job and the battery dies, it's over. With a capacitor, pop it in while you go get a drink and you're ready to go again. Another example is a cordless shaver, I use it a little each day, so extreme battery life is unnecessary, but the battery dying after a couple years is very annoying.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (2, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236601)

Perfect for things like TV remote, electric shavers, screwdrivers (as you mentionned), computer mice, wireless phones (not cells), console controllers and just about anything that would benifit from being wireless, but is always close to a power outlet. Looking around right now, thats the majority of things that use batteries that I have. Aside cellphones, lap-tops and pocket PCs... most things could do with a lower capacity and faster charge time, definately.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (4, Insightful)

erayd (1131355) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236273)

But the incredibly fast charge time would be the killer app for this. Sure, it only lasts half as long, but when you can charge it in a minute or two does that really matter?

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236391)

Won't the size of the fuse in the home circuit limit the charging rate?

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

fabs64 (657132) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236557)

Yes... to around (from memory) 2,400 w/H My laptop charger here says it's managing to suck in a grand total of... 65 w/H, a significant improvement I would say.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236719)

w/H
Um... how many whats per Henry?

H == kg(m/s/A)^2

The unit you were looking for was the "watt" (i.e. Joule per second, i.e. kg * m^2 / s^3). Watts per time makes no sense, unless you're talking about an ever-brightening lamp.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236561)

yes and no. modern batteries for laptops are ~55 watt hours. but they at run at ~5 volts roughly 11 amps for an hour if memory serves. but at 120volts that drops down to 0.5 amps. that's a 60 watt light bulb at 130 volts

my math is off as I am not bothering to look up the exact calculations but it's close. It's why transmission lines run at 1000 volts, or 15 thousand volts. they don't need to carry the amperage.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236647)

but at 120volts that drops down to 0.5 amps.

You've proven you can charge a laptop battery in an hour. Now multiple 0.5 amps by 60 to see that it'll take a 30 amp outlet for 1-minute charging.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

JonathanR (852748) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236635)

Yep. (In Australia) a standard 10A wall socket can pull 2400W. I think you could charge your shaver pretty quickly with that power input...

Less than 3 minutes for a laptop-sized ultracap. (1)

PseudoThink (576121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236753)

Home circuits in the US are typically 15-amps at 120 volts, yielding a maximum safe energy draw of 15A * 120V = 1800 Watts. Appliance manufacturers usually limit devices to use at most 1750 watts, to maintain a margin of safety. (Note: in the UK, they use 240 volts, so they have twice the maximum wattage, which is why their electric kettles boil water so much faster than ours, which is obviously why they like tea so much more than us.) A typical high-capacity modern laptop battery will have a 85 Watt-hour capacity. Assuming manufacturers did not artificially limit ultracapacitor charging rates, it would take an equivalent ultracapacitor about (85/1750) = 0.0486 hours, or a bit under 3 minutes to charge. Cell phone and PDA batteries are much lower capacity, and would thus require much less time to charge at the same wattage.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236627)

But the incredibly fast charge time would be the killer app for this.

I don't see it. If there are available outlets, I'd be using them, rather than my battery. (High-power) electrical outlets don't magically show up on an airplane, halfway through the flight and disappear 5 minutes later...

when you can charge it in a minute or two does that really matter?

To recharge current laptop batteries in 1 minute on 120V would require a 30 amp outlet, while standard outlets max-out at 15 (and I don't recommend maxing them out, BTW).

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236279)

Why the size problem?
The battery of a notebook or phone is only a small part of the total volume and weight of the device. I would be overjoyed if they simply quadrupled the size of the (existing technology)battery and gave me 4 times the capacity.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236481)

I would be overjoyed if they simply quadrupled the size of the (existing technology)battery and gave me 4 times the capacity.

Some people are easy to please: buy 3 spares.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236583)

Why the size problem? The battery of a notebook or phone is only a small part of the total volume and weight of the device. I would be overjoyed if they simply quadrupled the size of the (existing technology)battery and gave me 4 times the capacity.
Some of us us iPhones you insensitive clod!

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

Caltheos (573406) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236285)

Yeah, but wouldn't you like it if you could charge your laptop to full in less than a second? Running low on power at a presentation, tap it against a plate on your desk and your ready for another 2-3 hours. Ever forget to charge your cell phone the night before and have to leave it turned off all day until you can get to a charger? There could even be power sharing among laptops. Steal a bit of power from your friend's device to keep you going...who knows.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236299)

Forget notebooks. Think of all the gadgets that have rechargeable batteries. Ipods, wiimotes, phones and cellphones, remotes for everydamnthing in the house...

I don't know about you, but in most of these things I'd cheerfully accept 50% shorter usage between recharging, if I could be assured that I'd *never* have to replace the batteries themselves.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

whimmel (189969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236307)

Why would I want to double the size of my battery to achieve the same power output as a Li-ion?


I think that's why the article says "Soon"

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236367)

Why would I want to double the size of my battery to achieve the same power output as a Li-ion?
it lasts longer, has a lower risk of fire, requires less toxic chemicals to make it, quick to charge and can be used in very high drain applications.

I doubt it *won't* be viable in notebooks (3, Insightful)

PseudoThink (576121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236425)

The nice thing about capacitors is that they charge orders of magnitude faster than batteries. If you could plug your phone/PDA/etc. into any wall socket and have it fully charged in a few seconds, would you really need a power source for it that would last for days? Certainly yes, for camping trips perhaps. Ultracapacitors would introduce new ways of using portable devices.

Do you carry a spare battery? (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236443)

Why would I want to double the size of my battery to achieve the same power output as a Li-ion?

To get a device that won't wear out and can be recharged in minutes (or even seconds, if you can pump enough power in) instead of hours?

Instead of swapping out your battery, plug it in for a few minutes.

Re:I doubt it will be viable in notebooks (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236569)

Weight. Ultracaps are incredibly light compared to batteries with the same charge capacity, meaning no more seven pound "portables".

I'd trade more frequent charges (each taking a couple of minutes, total, due to the advantageous storage properties of a cap) for that.

Ultra (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236157)

I don't know about Ultra capacitors, but I do use Ultra batteries. They don't last any longer than other brands, but since they were a lot cheaper, you are better off in the long run.

I've got an idea! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236171)

How about not writing such obscenely bloated software that it needs a mainframe-on-a-chip to show an address book?
You want to save energy? You want to reduce cost? You want to reduce carbon footprint? It's not by making yet another technology, it's by refining what we already have. We don't need Javascript code that takes seconds to execute a simple text display on a multi-GHz processor. Start there. And we won't need capacitors with the energy density of an explosive to run a freaking phone.

Re:I've got an idea! (2, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236581)

"It's not by making yet another technology, it's by refining what we already have."

We don't need to build huts, we've got CAVES! Actually, we don't even need the caves, we've got trees! Hell, why even leave the oceans, we've got WATER!

Re:I've got an idea! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236621)

Good luck with that. While i agree totally, that would not keep us on the perpetual upgrade treadmill that modern day corporate wants to maintain.

Unless/Until resources disappear, the concept of efficiency will not return.

bad summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236197)

"capable of storing 50% as much energy as a lithium ion battery of the same size"

I'm confused... does that mean half the energy of a lithium ion battery or one and a half?

Lightning and capacitors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21236223)

Can anyone knowledgeable enough explain to me if it is possible to use lightnings to charge capacitors and then use the capacitors as batteries? Thanks.

Re:Lightning and capacitors? (2, Interesting)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236309)

... yes, if you could build a capacitor that would survive a direct lightning strike...

Re:Lightning and capacitors? (2, Insightful)

westcoast philly (991705) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236761)

Only if it's of the 'flux' variety. Of course, you'd have to have the timing perfect to hit the wire, just as the strike hits the clocktower, and you hit 88MPH.

regenerative braking (5, Insightful)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236235)

Rapid energy storage, with very low effective series resistance, is perfect for regenerative braking, and for burst acceleration. If a vehicle starts with full batteries and capacitors, then uses the capacitors first in acceleration, they would be discharged when braking was required, allowing them to rapidly store the power from the motor/generators. The batteries (and fuel cell or combustion engine), then are sustained energy for overcoming losses, powering accessories, and long uphill grades.

Could someone explain the jargon? (4, Funny)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236303)

Could someone explain this all to me please?

Are Ultra capacitors like flux Capacitors that you can use to go through time once you're travelling at 88mph? If so I don't think this will be very efficient at all since they require 1.42 Gigawatts!

Re:Could someone explain the jargon? (4, Informative)

Sterling2p (922774) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236579)

Don't worry. You only need 1.21 gigawatts [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Could someone explain the jargon? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236705)

Well, I've always believed that upon death you would relive your life moving backwards through time, so yes they are similar to flux capacitors.

RTFA (2, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236311)

It isn't necessarily about laptops and digicams, though it may be used there. The exciting stuff involve the ability to charge and discharge fast, and hopefully they are chemically stable so that they last a long time. Something like that could be used to harness the energy of a stopping train, the take that energy and put it right back into starting that train into motion again. Imagine using that for subways or light rail. I could also see it being used to lighten power distribution problems for such systems.

Call me back when it's 100% or more (1, Informative)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236361)

Critics are already pointing to the limitations of lithium ion batteries as slowing the development and power of portable devices.

Any step backward simply cannot be tolerated in regard to power stored.

Until they can provide the same density as a lithium ion battery, their product is essentially useless to the public.

Re:Call me back when you have some imagination (2, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236675)

when you were a child i bet you attempted to jam the square block into the round hole on your playset.

even if these caps only hold a charge for 1 hour, they will recharge in a few seconds and will be 5 time lighter then batteries. are you really so dense as to be unable to see applications for a lighter faster charging power source?

It's all great until... (1)

Suriken (922504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236405)

your cellphone explodes in (on?) your face...
I've had nasty experiences with capacitors

Royalties (2, Insightful)

McFortner (881162) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236485)

Isn't somebody gonna owe royalties to Philip Jose Farmer for the idea of the batacitor (first seen in the Riverworld book The Fabulous Riverboat?
Michael

Wake me when they actually achieve something. (4, Insightful)

guidryp (702488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236501)

The best ultra caps are still off by an order of magnitude.

I have been hearing how eestor would have its ultra caps in cars in 2006, then 2007, and I can only assume 2008 now. Not only are they not in cars, they haven't demoed as much as a since cell. Yeah I know it is not just eestor, but I am getting tired of empty hype.

I love hearing about technology, but at some point, they get to the "put up or shut up" point. That point has past for me.

Simple thing they always leave out... (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236549)

I like how they always fail to mention the one issue that I dobt will ever be overcome with cap batteries. They can explode quite easily with a bit of shock releasing all stored energy (or just because if there are any impurities). Not to mention if overcharged they will release all of that charged up energy making the Sony Li-Ion battery explosions look like a gimp firecracker.

You know you read qwantz.com too much when... (4, Funny)

Dorceon (928997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236567)

...you read that title as "Utahraptors soon to replace many batteries"

as if exploding batteries wasn't enough (1)

nilbog (732352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236571)

We've already had exploding batteries, I don't think we want to risk exploding capacitors.

Article wrongly disses flywheels (2, Informative)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236661)

TFA talks about flywheels "needing a heavy and complicated transmission". That was flywheels 20 years ago. Todays ultra flywheels are magnetically suspended in a vacuum, rotate at ultra high rpms (since stored energy increases with the square of rotation speed), and use the same magnets to spin up and down, storing and releasing electricity. The resulting energy density is better than either batteries or ultra-capacitors. The drawback to ultra-flywheels is that so far they work well for something the size of a bus (and are being used for that purpose), but haven't been built small enough yet for a car, much less a laptop. They also don't like to be rotated in 3 dimensions. One promising application of ultra-flywheels is storing electricity for power companies, and releasing it during peak demand.

Ultracapacitor? (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21236751)

Ultracapacitor? What happened to the supercapacitor? Was "supercapacitor" not marketing-speak enough?
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