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Super-capacitors have potential to overtake Li batteries

Posted: 17 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:consumer electronics? energy storage? Super-capacitors? lithium battery?

The consumer electronics industry has experienced a drastic change over the past few years. Portable devices have become multi-functional. Phones and other devices have served many purposes, such as making calls, internet navigation, email and video playing.

Smart watches, which can play music and assist smartphone management, and android powered cameras, which can run various applications and possess Wi-Fi internet capacity, have started to emerge. At the same time, smartphones have taken over more functions.

This trend in power demand terms is translated into frequent peak power demands from lithium and other types of batteries. The same applies for wireless sensors, which require power pulses for performing their functions. According to the figure below provided by IDTechEx, the power demand profile for different operation modes of three different smartphones.

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Figure 1: Different power profiles for different smartphone uses
Source: IDTechEx and University of South Wales.

Energy storage space for Smart and portable electronic device
The energy storage space is composed of primary (non-rechargeable) and secondary (rechargeable) batteries. Here, we define "smart and portable" as those devices that will take a key role in the future of data and communications, and are small enough to be carried by one person or installed in a small device.

Lithium batteries have become the dominant technology in the secondary battery space for small devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablet PCs and cameras. This is because of their superior energy density characteristics. The consumer electronics industry has pushed their production to billions and consequently, through economies of scale, has optimised its supply chain and reduced their price. At the same time, secondary batteries are increasingly substituting primary batteries in many applications.

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