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EEStor Ultracapacitor May Be Real
Old 03-31-2008, 07:36 PM   #1
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EEStor Ultracapacitor May Be Real

The ultracapacitor replacement for batteries has seemed too good to be true, but with the Lockheed Martin contract and Zenn plans to move ahead with production, it might be real.

The highway speed vehicle, to be called the cityZenn, will have a top speed of 80 miles per hour and a range of 250 miles, according to Zenn. The company said the EEStor powered car will be rechargeable in less than 5 minutes.

If you can recharge your electric car in five minutes, issues of range disappear.
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Old 03-31-2008, 07:51 PM   #2
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I remain skeptical. While I'm not an engineer and can't do the math involved, it seems on the face of it to be impossible to replace in 5 minutes, via household electrical outlet, (which at best is 30 amps) the energy required to move a car with occupants 80 miles. Or even with a 220 volt outlet as used by an electric clothes dryer or electric oven.

Further, it apparently assumes a capacitor with almost no leakage over long periods of time and wiring with no resistance.

For anyone who buys into that, I can whip up some snake oil converted from water to power the next generation car.

Any real live engineers care to comment?
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:24 PM   #3
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I remain skeptical. While I'm not an engineer and can't do the math involved, it seems on the face of it to be impossible to replace in 5 minutes, via household electrical outlet, (which at best is 30 amps) the energy required to move a car with occupants 80 miles. Or even with a 220 volt outlet as used by an electric clothes dryer or electric oven.

Further, it apparently assumes a capacitor with almost no leakage over long periods of time and wiring with no resistance.

For anyone who buys into that, I can whip up some snake oil converted from water to power the next generation car.

Any real live engineers care to comment?
I certainly don't qualify as an engineer, but:
- I didn't see that the claim was that the car could be recharged in 5 mins from a household plug. It's possible that they are envisioning higher wattage "fueling" stations, like a gas station, that you could use for cross-country trips. 5 minutes would be an entirely acceptable wait time, well in line with the time we spend at the pump now. One problem with conventional chemical batteries is that they simply cannot accept a charge at very high rates, but a capacitor can. Yes, it would be one heck of a current flow.

Back of the envelope math: 1 HP = 745 watts. So, if we assume this vehicle uses 30 HP to go 60 MPH, then it takes 4 hours to cover it's approx 240 mile max range, and takes 90 kilowatt hours of electricity. A 50 amp/220V plug (like one on most home electric stoves) provides 11 kilowatts of juice, so could recharge the car in a little over 8 hours.

And, the fill-up would cost about ten bucks (at a $.12 kw/h electric rate).

I don't know if/how they've solved the leakage problem. I also think a huge capacitor like this would give emergency workers something to think about when attempting to cut someone out of a car (even moreso than the batteries in hybrids now). On the plus side, it would be darn easy to gin up a very effective antitheft/anti-carjacking device by putting this capacitor to use.
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:35 PM   #4
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On the plus side, it would be darn easy to gin up a very effective antitheft/anti-carjacking device by putting this capacitor to use.
LOL! I love that thought!

Sorta like the guy intending to siphon fuel from an RV opened the black water tank....
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:09 PM   #5
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:48 PM   #6
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EEstor has been 'vaporware' for a long time, but maybe they will actually start shipping something soon - I wouldn't rule it out, but I wouldn't hold my breath either.

I' would not read too much into the recent military purchases - for some military uses, certain performance aspects can trump cost and other negatives.

Some info here (as usual):

EEstor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Quote:
The claims of the EESU are:

* Nontoxic and non-hazardous
* Non-explosive
* For a 52 kWh unit, an initial production price of $3,200, falling to $2,100 with mass production is projected.[6] This is half the price per stored watt-hour as lead-acid batteries, and potentially cheap enough to use to store grid power at off-peak times for on-peak use.
* No degradation from charge/discharge cycles
* 4-6 minute charge time for a 336 pound (152 kg), 2005 cubic inch (33 L), 52 kilowatt hour (187 MJ), 31 farad, 3500 volt unit, assuming sufficient cooling of the cables.
* A self-discharge rate of 0.1% per month
Pretty extreme claims, esp that self-discharge - but who knows?

A few points for reference - 52KWhrs is about the size of the LION battery pack in the Tesla electric sports car.

$3,200 for the power unit, but add the cost of an electric motor and controller (not cheap). I don't know how that compares with an ICE and all it's emission controls and more complex transmission.

52KWHrs in five minutes? Wowzers! Like they say - you would need to cool the cables. Hmmm, at 220V, that's 2832 AMPS for 5 minutes. Think along the lines of 100 electric dryer cords paralleled up. That would be a mighty big plug - not really practical.

But what they appear to be looking at, is very high voltage charging. At 2,200 V (just for comparison), now you are talking 'only' 10 dryer cords in parallel to handle the current. Might be feasible.

Looks like they are saying that at the cost of these units, 'filling stations' could be charging them up all day and night, and then you zap your car full of electrons from their bank of power units. Interesting.

-ERD50
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Old 03-31-2008, 10:59 PM   #7
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What would this do for storing solar power

It seems that the downside of solar is that you still need backup at night or when the sun has not been out much.... this might be a good backup... thoughts?
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:08 PM   #8
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Yes, it would be one heck of a current flow.
Our DC/AC inverter pulls 6-7 amps (not millliamps but full amps) at 600 volts DC, and that alone is enough to fry an egg on its aluminum heat-dissipation grille.

I've seen submarine battery charges aborted due to excessive electrolyte temperature. I'd hate to think of what a few careless operators could do with a the current flux of a capacitor-charging station.

But if it works, I want one!

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On the plus side, it would be darn easy to gin up a very effective antitheft/anti-carjacking device by putting this capacitor to use.
Wasn't that commercial in one of the RoboCop sequels?
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:10 PM   #9
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What would this do for storing solar power

It seems that the downside of solar is that you still need backup at night or when the sun has not been out much.... this might be a good backup... thoughts?
There is no big need for storage for solar, until we actually make more solar than we can use.

Peak electrical usage is during the day - we would sure need to have a lot of solar installed before we needed to do anything but dump it in the grid. We are probably at least 15 years away from that, and by then, other technologies will arise. There are still cheap, simple ways to store energy on mass scales - pump water back up the hydro-dam during the day, release it at night, compress air in caves, make steam, etc, etc, etc

Unless you are in a remote location, far from the grid. For most of those apps, lead-acid batteries aren't so bad. Those are normally fixed locations, size/weight are not a big deal.

Autos, and other portable power eaters are the 'killer app' for these super-caps.

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Old 04-01-2008, 01:16 AM   #10
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On the plus side, it would be darn easy to gin up a very effective antitheft/anti-carjacking device by putting this capacitor to use.
When doing tune-ups on a vehicle in my younger years we would sometimes place the old condenser from the distributor on a wooden work bench and give it a charge. Eventually someone would get curious and pick it up. This gave a good jolt. The capacitor of the size you are describing could be used to save funeral costs by creating a do-it-yourself crematorium.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:43 AM   #11
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Old 04-01-2008, 06:15 AM   #12
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There is no big need for storage for solar, until we actually make more solar than we can use.

....Unless you are in a remote location, far from the grid. For most of those apps, lead-acid batteries aren't so bad. Those are normally fixed locations, size/weight are not a big deal.

-ERD50
Yes, but, some of us do have an interest in backup power at cheaper cost. If in fact the 52kwh super-cap was $3200 and moving towards $2100, then it would be a lot less expensive than the $4000 or so that I paid for a 17kwh backup battery bank (only half of which can be used regularly, or 80% of which can be used rarely - in order to ensure a long life). Lets see, 47 cents per regularly usable storage capacity watt for an AGM battery bank, or 4 cents per watt for a super cap...not too hard of a decision...but only if it works and the bugs are worked out. I for one would really enjoy having 52kwh of storage for my 12kw array. It would mean I could have all the power I wanted, any time I wanted, when the grid was down.
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Old 04-01-2008, 06:53 AM   #13
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Packrat44 - You brought back memories from over 50 years ago. Some fun....... the first and second sentence.......

You guys need one of these...........

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Old 04-01-2008, 07:16 AM   #14
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UH: Would get one of these if CFB can tell me how to tap the local power pole for the electricity to run it.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:39 AM   #15
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When doing tune-ups on a vehicle in my younger years we would sometimes place the old condenser from the distributor on a wooden work bench and give it a charge. Eventually someone would get curious and pick it up. This gave a good jolt.
So you were the SOB!
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:42 AM   #16
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Yes, but, some of us do have an interest in backup power at cheaper cost. If in fact the 52kwh super-cap was $3200 and moving towards $2100, then it would be a lot less expensive than the $4000 or so that I paid for a 17kwh backup battery bank (only half of which can be used regularly, or 80% of which can be used rarely - in order to ensure a long life). Lets see, 47 cents per regularly usable storage capacity watt for an AGM battery bank, or 4 cents per watt for a super cap...not too hard of a decision...but only if it works and the bugs are worked out. I for one would really enjoy having 52kwh of storage for my 12kw array. It would mean I could have all the power I wanted, any time I wanted, when the grid was down.
R
Can you tell me how long 52kwh would last in a 'normal' situation? Also in a hot summer time?

I think that for the winter months I do not use that amount.... but in the summer I can be in the 1200 to 2000 range... air conditioning is a killer....

The interesting part is that if they do actually start to charge based on when you use electricity, then actually having someplace to easily store what you need when it is cheap and not pay the high price would be great.. I would cough up $2100 if I could cut my bills down by a big amount..
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:33 AM   #17
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Yes, but, some of us do have an interest in backup power at cheaper cost. If in fact the 52kwh super-cap was $3200 and moving towards $2100, then it would be a lot less expensive than the $4000 or so that I paid for a 17kwh backup battery bank

....

It would mean I could have all the power I wanted, any time I wanted, when the grid was down.
R
If these live up to the promises, they will make good local backup systems. But don't forget that the electronics may be considerably more expensive. Theses super-caps get charged up to thousands of volts, and then all the way down to zero. That is an extremely wide range to design for. Components are much different from systems in the 10's to 100's of volts.

Batteries on the other hand, only vary by about 30% in voltage from full charge to fully discharged. It's much simpler/cheaper to design an inverter to run efficiently over the range of 14V down to 11 Volts than from 3,500V to zero.

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Can you tell me how long 52kwh would last in a 'normal' situation? Also in a hot summer time?

I think that for the winter months I do not use that amount.... but in the summer I can be in the 1200 to 2000 range... air conditioning is a killer....

The interesting part is that if they do actually start to charge based on when you use electricity, then actually having someplace to easily store what you need when it is cheap and not pay the high price would be great.. I would cough up $2100 if I could cut my bills down by a big amount..
Is that 1200 to 2000 in dollars? Per month?

My total utility bills (heat and A/C) aren't much more for an entire year. First thing I'd look at is eff AC and insulation/shade. Conservation is still the cheapest route in most cases.


52KWhrs would run a 220V AC that draws 20 Amps (4.4KW/Hr) for 11.8 hours (ignoring efficiencies). I don't know that off peak rates would be low enough to pay for storing it though. Some places do it today, I don't think it is that huge a delta.

here's the first I googled:

Time of Day
Quote:
For electricity used during the peak periods of 6:30-9:30 AM and 5:30-8:30 PM the rate is $.1525 per kilowatt hour. For all other times of the day, the off-peak times, the rate is $.038 per kilowatt hour. Compare that to the regular monthly rate of $.072 per kilowatt hour.
So, you can go from a 7.2 cents to 3.8 cents off peak, and only need about 3 hours storage - but watch those peak rates of 15.25!

Another local storage system technology that is here today is flywheels. A company makes these about the size of a 55 Gallon drum. Spin 'em up during off-peak, tap the power at peak. Probably not cost effective - they are used to back up mission critical stuff.

'Funny' thing is, storing peak electricity would actually cause us to waste electricity (and the fossil fuel to generate it). Peak is expensive for the electric companies, because they need to design the size of plants and the grid to handle just those few hours, but storing it always will waste some of it in conversion loss, so overall usage will go up.

-ERD50
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:59 AM   #18
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UH: Would get one of these if CFB can tell me how to tap the local power pole for the electricity to run it.
I'm probably not the guy you want to ask since I spent most of the day before yesterday playing around with an appliance that had sparks flying out of various places with a live gas line running through it.

I wonder what happens to the capacitor if you smash into it with an F-350 or the car flips over and breaks the exterior?

Maybe we'll need deflector shields and antimatter containment fields before this would be practical...
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:23 PM   #19
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I wonder what happens to the capacitor if you smash into it with an F-350 or the car flips over and breaks the exterior?
It contains less energy than the fuel tank of a car. It will propel the car ~ 200 miles, and electric motors are far more efficient than internal combustion engines. Therefore, less total energy being carried around.

And that gasoline also had to be carried by a tanker truck, exposed to more dangers. But electric lines do get hit once in while too.

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Old 04-01-2008, 01:22 PM   #20
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Yeah, but its really, really hard to get a tank of gas to blow up unless the car is a ford.

I must have seen 4 mythbusters episodes where they tried unsuccessfully to get gas tanks to blow up by smashing them, shooting them, and firing massive amounts of sparks into them. On one episode, they were unable to get an enclosed room full of gas and gas fumes to ignite until they exposed it to a huge open flame.

But this thing has a bunch of electricity in it...what happens if you bash it in half?
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