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MAXWELL - Ultracapacitor Technology Overview


Ultracapacitor Product Guide
Ultracapacitor Design Guidelines & Sample Applications (Smart Power Meters & Hybrid Drive Systems)
Web Seminar Archive: Guidelines on How to Design-In Ultracapacitors into your Applications

Maxwell Technologies BOOSTCAP Ultracapacitors are an innovative energy storage technology ideally suited for applications needing repeated bursts of power for fractions of a second to several minutes. They pack up to 100 times the energy of conventional capacitors and deliver ten times the power of ordinary batteries.

To make power available when needed by the application, the BOOSTCAP ultracapacitor "caches" power from any energy source. This power is then discharged from the ultracapacitor at rates demanded by the application. The ultracapacitor can be repeatedly charged and discharged at rates optimized for the application.

Using BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors for power bursts maximizes the life and efficiency of the system's energy source. The ultracapacitor allows the entire system to be tailored to optimally meet both power and energy requirements.


  • Industrial
  • UPS
  • Power quality
  • Telecommunications
  • Renewable energy
  • Consumer electronics
High-powered energy storage for high-powered designs

Portable product design specifications increasingly call for smaller, lighter-weight products with more features packed into tighter spaces. Often, they also need more burst power. But sizing batteries for peak power requirements often compromises the desired space and weight specifications. BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors allow the designer to maximize performance.

Immediate, reliable power for ensuring power quality

Power quality applications require instantaneous, reliable ride-through power. BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors kick in immediately, holding power levels until power returns, or bridging the time gap between an electrical interruption and the start-up of a backup system. Using batteries for such rapid, deep-cycle power demands is harmful to the battery. To ensure constant readiness, batteries in this application will incur significant maintenance and replacement costs.

Efficient balance of Power and Energy

In hybrid or pure electric vehicle applications, BOOSTCAPs provide supercharging power for accelerations or climbing. With its quick recharge capability, BOOSTCAPs will capture regenerative braking energy, extending the range of the vehicle.

A uniquely advanced power technology enabling advanced, innovative designs

The BOOSTCAP ultracapacitor is a double-layer capacitor incorporating a unique metal/carbon electrode and an advanced non-aqueous electrolytic solution. As a potential is applied across the terminals, ions migrate to the high surface area electrodes. The combination of available surface area and proximity to the current collector provide an ultra-high capacitance for this electrostatic process.

Highest cycle life

Its charging process is highly reversible, enabling a BOOSTCAP ultracapacitor to be cycled hundreds of thousands of times, delivering high-power energy throughout the lifetime of most products.

Highest power density

Independent performance tests have confirmed that Maxwell's BOOSTCAP technology packs more than twice the power density of ordinary ultracapacitors and exceed the U.S. Department of Energy's near-term goals for specific power and energy storage.

Added value, lower warranty costs

Products incorporating BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors realize lower warranty and service costs. When used to improve the effectiveness of battery-based systems, ultracapacitors can shrink the volume of batteries required and reduce the frequency of battery replacement.

Any application which has variable power requirements can benefit from the BOOSTCAP ultracapacitor's ability to "cache" power to meet demands. While the primary energy storage device continues to meet ongoing low power requirements, the ultracapacitor is available to supply peak power needs. The BOOSTCAP ultracapacitor is capable of accepting a charge as quickly as it is discharged, allowing it to be charged via high rate charging, through the capture of regenerative braking energy, or simple trickle charging. This flexible "opportunity charging" allows the system designer to make best use of his energy sources.

Maxwell's Booscap ultracapacitors allow for advancements and capabilities never before possible in numerous products and applications in a wide range of industries. Virtually any design calling for a mixture of high and low power loads can take advantage of the benefits of BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors.

A tool to achieve the design advantage

Numerous advantages are realized when BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors are used to manage peak power requirements and the battery is used for continuous low power. Sizing the battery for energy rather than power frees space for adding new features. Reserving the battery for low power requirements will also allow the use of lower cost battery technologies.

When used to meet peak power requirements, BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors enable the other power sources to operate more efficiently whether it's a fuel cell, battery, or combustion engine.

Ultracapacitors ensure that sensitive equipment continues to operate in harsh power quality environments. Providing a store of available energy, ultracapacitors support UPS systems, equipment ride-through applications, and bridge power to a generator start-up.

Electrostatic technology provides improved safety and design flexibility

Since BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors store energy electrostatically, but do not generate energy, they can be stored completely discharged with no risk of accidental discharge during shipment, storage, assembly, or maintenance. Additionally, there is no danger due to over discharging.

Make best use of available space

BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors can be installed in any convenient orientation. A variety of available cases and terminal connections provide the designer with the most efficient use of space.

Provides reliable indication of available energy

BOOSTCAP technology takes the guesswork out of power storage. Since the energy stored is directly related to the voltage, the amount of available energy can be easily monitored.

This precision eliminates the need for sophisticated state-of-charge algorithms, which at best only approximate a battery's remaining available energy.

Scaleable to meet energy and voltage requirements

Whether you're designing products that fit in the palm of your hand, inside a car, or that backup major power grids, Maxwell Technologies' BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors will add value to your application. BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors are modular and stackable, easily configured to cost-effectively match voltage and energy specifications.