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Research Report: Breakthroughs that Threaten EV Batteries

A new report has indicated how supercapacitors have started to replace 10% of lithium-ion batteries and help kill lead-acid.

As contained in an IDTechEx report, titled: “Supercapacitor Markets, Technology Roadmap, Opportunities 2021-2041”,  urban buses and light trains will, at the route end,  charge in 20 seconds, and escape eye-watering battery replacement costs.

Lithium-ion batteries were selling at the billions of dollars a year level when they hit 100Wh/kg. Aowei and Toomen newly sell supercapacitors with that compactness, Nippon Chemicon and others next. Compared to batteries, supercapacitors are safer, tolerate overcharge, avoid complex battery management systems.

Most are now non-flammable, non-toxic, incur no costly misery of controlled disposal, provide lowest total cost of ownership. Waste 14% less electricity, grab twice the regenerative energy from crane or truck. Life in use fourfold better, cycle life and power density tenfold, four times less kWh needed for intense power cycling (deep discharge not battery “sipping”).

The second breakthrough is Geely putting large peak-shaving ones in hybrid cars from 2021, others following, market potential also billions of dollars.

The third breakthrough is new formats impractical with batteries from a Lamborghini self-healing car with supercapacitor bodywork to a wearable sensor film with supercapacitor backing that stretches to fit and can be cut to size.

Improved supercapacitors and their variants enable huge opportunities in minigrids, trains, trams, trucks, heavy off-road vehicles, tiny uninterruptable power supplies for IOT nodes using energy harvesting, 1 MWh giants for hospitals, data centers.

Already, they drive brain scanners, lift Maglev trains, power rail and laser guns, go into deep space and provide the only trustworthy backup for wind turbine blade adjustment, vehicle brakes, aircraft and bus doors.

They variously operate well at anything from minus 40C to sometimes 150C, even their ubiquitous 85C meaningless or no cooling compared to batteries. Supercapacitors love the trend to safety, no toxigens, fastest charging and fit-and-forget.

The  IDTechEx report is the only post COVID-19 information on all the markets matched to new technology roadmap, uniquely forecasting 20 years ahead by application and geography, quantifying market disruptions ahead.

The Executive Summary and Conclusions of the report is sufficient for those with limited time: its 37 pages are mostly new infograms, forecasts, comparisons of sales and capability breakthroughs, 23 primary conclusions. Understand markets with ongoing growth and those that will peak. Value market forecasts by eight application sectors – cars, bus/truck, off-road, rail, energy, aerospace/ military, electronics, marine/other plus upside forecast, forecast by four global regions; Top ten manufacturers in sales order, manufacturer numbers by region, ongoing numerical impact of COVID-19, coming numerical impact of peak car, electric vs losers.

Meanwhile its Introduction explains supercapacitors and their derivatives forecasting changes ahead. Tables compare these many emerging parameters with conventional capacitors and batteries, reveals where research emphasis is poorly matched to market potential and gives more on the 20-year legacy of COVID-19 on the car market.

Chapter 3 of the report sees all 80 supercapacitor manufacturers critically appraised, not just a directory. Companies with large sales or breakthrough products get special attention such as Evans Capacitor with a recent $7 million order and unique virtuosity. View ten columns over 53 densely packed pages based on global visits, interviews, original photographs, much original data. See split by country, capacitor size, technologies, time, where China is leading/ lagging progress in technology or application, high margin vs commoditized.

Chapter 4 reveals “Supercapacitors in Aerospace and Military Applications” from radar to ordnance, air surveillance, aircraft safety. Chapter 5 does the same for “Supercapacitors in On- and Off-road Vehicles and Rail Systems”, including mining, logistics and other vehicles and cranes adopting large capacitor banks for power surges in and out. It is followed by Chapter 6 “Supercapacitors in the Energy Sector”.

The report ends with three appendices giving important research chosen in the European Union, Japan and New Zealand.

Supercapacitor improvement and market roll-out is now moving fast, with major advances and disruptions coming in the next twenty years. That PhD-level analysis is only available in the new IDTechEx report, “Supercapacitor Markets, Technology Roadmap, Opportunities 2021-2041”.

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