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News

Supercapacitors can destroy the lithium-ion battery market

ID TechEx : 22 July, 2014  (Technical Article)
As tracked by market research company IDTechEx and further explained in a recently updated report, supercapacitors are improving faster than lithium-ion batteries in most respects. A gradual increase in the supercapacitor component and decrease of the battery component is in prospect.
Supercapacitors can destroy the lithium-ion battery market
Elon Musk of Tesla once said that he thought supercapacitors are the future. Now he is planning the mother of all lithium-ion battery factories. Nevertheless, it is still probable that supercapacitors will hammer lithium-ion battery sales. Nanotune Technologies’ CEO Kuang Tsei Huang has demonstrated supercapacitors with 35Wh/kg, saying that 500Wh/kg may be achievable, 2-4 times the energy density of the best Li-ion batteries. Yunasko and many others have demonstrated 35Wh/kg, with the intermediate supercabatteries, matching lead-acid and NiCd batteries. Maxwell Technologies expects tripling current energy density with pure supercapacitors. Graphene supercapacitor developers target 200 Wh/kg.
 
Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman of IDTechEx, explains: "Supercapacitors need not match lithium-ion battery energy density to replace much of that battery market. They have replaced maybe one percent of that market already with only one hundredth of the energy density because they last longer than the bus for example that they are in. They are safer and have 10 times the power density. Even across batteries they mean less battery is needed.
 
They have replaced Li-ion batteries in most Chinese buses, despite greater up-front price. Supercapacitor sales are under 3% of lithium-ion battery sales today, partly replacing them and partly doing things batteries can never do.
 
Supercapacitor sales will be over 10% of Li-ion sales in ten years as they grab more Li-ion business despite such batteries improving by a factor of two in energy density. For that, production supercapacitors or supercabatteries (notably lithium-ion capacitors) must reach around 40Wh/kg with all other parameters acceptable, possibly even conceding some power density and life but being greener. If that happens, few will dispute that in the next decade at around 100Wh/kg with acceptable other parameters, supercapacitors or supercabatteries could grab 50% of the lithium-ion market, reaching tens of billions of dollars in yearly sales.”
 
Ultracapacitors, EDLC, electrochemical capacitors, supercabatteries, AEDLC for electronics and electrical engineering
By Dr Peter Harrop, Dr Victor Zhitomirsky and Mr Franco Gonzalez Brand new for Q1 2014
 
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