A manufacturer of ultracapacitors intended for the wind industry and other applications, has announced the launch of modular ultracapacitors that sport a common, single-piece extruded housing, simplified assembly, and a system for monitoring capacitor condition. An early application for the iMOD X-Series from Ioxus is a high cycling, high speed voltage recovery system, essentially a power smoothing, nacelle-mounted unit capable of storing 1 MW in a standard 19-in. cabinet. “This power support is for a matter of seconds, but it lets wind farm operators sell the steadier power at higher prices,” says Chad Hall, one of the company founders.
Until now, the primary wind-industry application for ultracapacitors has been pitch control systems. Hall says millions are now in wind turbines and have suffered no failures. “The application rule has been that the ultracapacitors must provide power to pitch a blade three times near end of capacitor life and at -20F. We think they will last at least 15 years,” he says. Ultracapacitors will get turbines well into the O&M portion of their life, and their pricing, says Hall, is comparable of upfront costs to install batteries. Lead-acid batteries, in contrast, come with high weight, lower efficiencies (70 versus 98% for ultracapacitors), and recycling issues.
“We devised the new housing and assembly method because of an inherent design issue responsible for disproportionate heating and aging of center cells in basic modules, so the company created the iMOD X-Series to address these issues while reducing cost, minimizing design time, and increasing reliability,” says Hall. “The series lets every cell contact the housing for even heating and cooling,” he adds. This reduced heating and better cooling allows for even aging of the cells, and a longer lasting, more reliable product.
Hall says the recent series reduces the effort required to design module-to-module termination and monitoring connections, as well as simplify mounting arrangements. The patent pending, single-piece extruded housing and common components across the Ioxus product family means all of the required components are the same, regardless of the module voltage or capacitance. Hall says other features of the series include:
- Laser welding the cells end-to-end reduces the number of bus bars, which in turn lowers cost and module equivalent series resistance while increasing system performance and power delivery.
- Voltage balancing extends the life of each cell, unlike other designs that offer basic voltage clamping.
- Front-facing terminals allow simple bus bars that clean up the system layout and eliminate cables that might crisscross a system.
- Customizable end plates allow for almost any mounting configuration.
- Simple sealing means the series requires only two seal points.
“Sharing common components in the modules lets these ultracapacitors easily fit into standard racks without shelving required and at 50% less volume than our competitors,” says Ioxus CTO Ken Rudisuela.
The company has also implemented an optional CAN Communication system into iMOD X-Series, to allow easy monitoring of vital statistics. Control and output messages can be tailored to individual customer requirements.
In other company news, it has received a third round of funding at $21 million and opened a second manufacturing facility in Oneonta, NY. This allowed adding more than 30 jobs there. WPE
Filed Under: News, Turbines