Too Mod for Batteries: Ioxus Introduces iMOD Ultracaps

Ioxus is a manufacturer of premium performance ultracapacitor technology for transportation, alternative energy, medical, industrial and consumer markets.  Ioxus has focused on improving capacitor technology, specializing in electric double layer capacitors (EDLC).

The Oneonta, New York, company recently announced the release of its 16V/58F iMOD Ultracapacitor Module Series for alternative energy markets (pictured below).

The iMOD is an ultracapacitor comprising a plurality of in-line high voltage capacitors which provide power for such green technologies as wind turbine pitch control systems, start and drive systems on hybrid vehicles, and power conditioning for renewable energy systems.  The iMOD allows for in-line high voltage capacitors sized to parallel or replace common battery sizes.

According to Cleantech PatentEdge™, Ioxus currently owns one U.S. utility patent and has at least four pending U.S. patent applications, all relating to ultracapacitor technology.

U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2010/0053844 (‘844 Application) is entitled “High voltage EDLC cell and method for the manufacture thereof” and directed to an EDLC having a unit cell structure with alternately interleaved electrodes formed lithographically and a separator between the electrodes and impregnating an electrolyte therein.  The ‘844 Application also describes a manufacturing process for the EDLC cells.

U.S. Patent No. 7,830,646, is entitled “Multi electrode series connected arrangement supercapacitor” and directed to an EDLC series stack formed into a single electrolyte cell structure.  The figure below shows a complete 12-volt EDLC in a poly bag package. 

An EDLC device (10) includes five concatenated electrode assemblies (34-38).  Voltage monitor/control tabs (39-42) extend external to poly bag (31), which provides a lightweight, puncture resistant, air-tight seal for the cell stack.  The power tabs (32, 33) and voltage monitor/control tabs (39-42) provide the complete electrical interface.

Ioxus ultracapacitors have many applications in green technology. For example, they have previously been used on wind turbines to control the pitch of rotor blades relative to wind speed in order to maximize efficiency. Rotor blade pitch control is also used as a safety feature to slow or stop the turbine when wind speeds are too high or in the event the turbine loses connection to the grid.

Compared to batteries, ultracapacitors are preferred for use in wind turbines due to their light weight, solid state design, and ability to operate in cold conditions. Ultracapacitors also require very little maintenance and have an approximate ten-year life span – twice as long as most batteries.

According to Ioxus’ press release, the iMOD modules deliver easy to install, ready to use, and durable ultracapacitor modules at a lower price and with improved cell balancing.

According to Chad Hall, Ioxus Founder and Vice-President of Sales, “This is a complete, ready to install package. You can go up to 750V without any external management, you can run parallel to a 12V battery or replace a 12V battery. It’s ruggedized to handle insustrial environments.”

While ultracapacitors charge quickly, they are limited in application as they also discharge quickly. They are ideal when relatively short bursts of electricity are needed. As this technology improves, its application will undoubtedly increase.

Are ultracapacitors the new battery? Due to their lack of long term power delivery, ultracapacitors are not ready to replace batteries yet, however, they are certainly preferred in some situations.

David Gibbs is a contributor to Green Patent Blog.  David is currently in his third and final year at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.  He received his undergraduate degree in Geology from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.