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Fractal Systems Polymer Ultracapacitors

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  • RemyC
    From: http://www.acq.osd.mil/mda/mdalink/pdf/50_sum04.pdf via: http://www.acq.osd.mil/mda/mdalink/html/pubs.htm#updatelist POLYMER ULTRACAPACITORS TAKE CHARGE
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 27, 2004
      via: http://www.acq.osd.mil/mda/mdalink/html/pubs.htm#updatelist

      Battery of the future.

      Flexible polymer ultracapacitors will provide higher power and energy
      density at less cost than ruthenium-dioxide.

      It conducts like copper but can be grown like plastic. It's called
      nanoporous ordered conducting polymer, and it can be useful either for
      energy storage or as a battery.

      With MDA SBIR funding, Fractal Systems, Inc. (Safety Harbor, FL), developed
      a unique method for producing and ordering the internal morphology of
      conductive polymers as well as the composition of the matter itself. Eager
      to use this polymer as an electrode, Fractal is working in partnership with
      Evans Capacitor Company to create a prototype ultracapacitor.

      It will have an order of magnitude more energy density than conventional
      carbon-based capacitors, and perform two to three times better at less cost
      than a ruthenium- dioxide capacitor. The relative ease of manufacture of
      polymer ultracapacitors spells good news for any industry interested in
      electrical power storage and discharge including automotive and consumer
      electronics applications.

      High power density and high energy density are always important requirements
      for military systems sensitive to weight limitations. MDA awarded SBIR
      contracts to Fractal in 2001 and 2002 to assess the characteristics of, and
      develop techniques for growing, the nanoporous conducting polymer for use in

      Chemists grow thin films of specialized polymers using electrochemical
      synthesis of commercially available monomers and reagents. Fractal chemists
      experimented with various configurations of polythiophenes, polyanilines,
      polypyrroles, and other copolymers and settled on those with the best
      combination of voltage and energy density. They use a proprietary
      preparation technique to settle thin coatings throughout a carbon paper to
      achieve desired nanoporosity.

      There are advantages to using conducting polymers for capacitance and not
      all of these are related to price and performance.

      First of all, polymers are simple to manufacture and can be produced in
      sheets and films. Since a polymer can be coated on a substrate, the mix can be used as an electrode. This is simpler than the process used to make a batch of carbon paste to manufacture one carbon pellet at a time. In theory, a sheet
      of polymer/substrate one-foot square could supply 144 one-inch-diameter
      electrodes simultaneously.

      Secondly, an inexpensive carbon-based capacitor uses sulfuric acid in its
      electrolyte and outgasses carbon monoxide as it breaks down. For some applications that is not a significant problem, but it is an environmental effect that does not scale well. In contrast, a conducting-polymer-based capacitor uses an organic electrolyte such as lithium tetrafluoroborate and can operate in water with no acids involved.

      Price and performance ultimately will determine when and where conducting
      polymer is used, however. A conducting- polymer-based capacitor has more
      than 10 times the energy density and approximately 500 times the power
      density of a carbon-based capacitor, but it cannot compete on price alone.
      Polymer compares favorably to existing ruthenium-dioxide-based capacitors on
      both price and power/energy density.

      Since a high power, high energy density capacitor can be used in tandem with
      a battery (or in some cases act as a battery), one possible commercial market is the automotive and transportation industry.

      Typical applications would include coldstart support, use with regenerative
      braking, and preheating catalytic converters. Locomotives and industrial
      equipment demanding short bursts of peak electrical load would also benefit.
      Almost any equipment needing an uninterruptible power supply would be able to take advantage of powerful capacitors.

      At the conclusion of its Phase II SBIR funding in 2004, Fractal Systems and
      Evans Capacitor intend to make the polymer ultracapacitor commercially avail
      able either by licensing it or by direct manufacture and sales.

      The market for ultracapacitors is in its infancy-currently, limited to
      weapon fuzing and medical implantable devices-but promises to expand in
      direct proportion to the demand for more power, and less waste and weight in
      batteries. Interested parties should contact Fractal Systems directly.
      -A. Gruen

      Dr. Matt Aldissi
      Fractal Systems, Inc.
      200 9th Avenue North, Suite 100
      Safety Harbor, FL 34695
      Tel: (727) 723-3006
      Fax: (727) 723-3007
      E-mail: fsi@ fractalsystemsinc.com
      Web: http://www.fractalsystemsinc.com
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