What are Supercapacitors?
Supercapacitors, often referred to as supercaps, ultracapacitors, or EDLCs (electric double-layer capacitors), bridge the gap between batteries and capacitors in the field of energy storage. Traditionally, capacitors store energy electrostatically as an electric field via two conductive electrodes separated by an insulator. Conversely, batteries store energy in chemical form. Supercapacitors, however, are high-capacity capacitors containing two electrodes and an electrolyte solution of charged ions. An electrolyte-porous membrane separator allows charged ions to travel through while isolating the two electrodes. Negatively charged ions within the electrolyte mixture are attracted toward the anode when voltage is directed across the supercapacitor. Since the ions can't travel outside the electrolyte mixture, a layer of equal but opposite charge develops on the surface between the electrode and electrolyte, referred to as the Helmholtz layer. This occurs similarly on the surface of the other electrode and is why supercapacitors are often described as electric double-layer capacitors (EDLCs).
How are Supercapacitors used?
Supercapacitors are unique pieces of technology that are growing in popularity and use. Supercapacitors are often used in automotive applications because they are a viable alternative to batteries. They help provide high-power bursts for hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) and are utilized in regenerative braking systems. Supercapacitors are also being used in DC link systems, storing and releasing energy from renewable energy sources like wind and solar. As their popularity grows, new and innovative ways of utilizing them are emerging. From IoT devices and wearables to aerospace and robotics, supercapacitors are increasingly being explored at an increasing rate across varying industries and applications.
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