With rapid industrialization and technological advancements, it is essential that companies come up with designs that can store energy for later use. Electric energy is very vital because without it there would be no growth or development. For that reason, companies and organizations spend a lot of money designing systems that will enable them to store and save energy for future use. The focus of this article will be on the supercapacitor vs battery contest. A supercapacitor is an electrical device that can store and retain more electric charge than a standard capacitor. On the other hand, a battery is an electrical device that can save energy in its cells and discharge that energy slowly to a load.
Similarities Between Supercapacitor and Battery
1. Both are used as energy storage devices.
2. Both have series resistances in their circuits to increase the amount of energy stored.
3. Both can be charged to their maximum capacities.
Differences Between Supercapacitor and Battery
Even though there are some similarities between a supercapacitor and a battery, there exist some differences between them. These differences make them suitable for different applications:
1. Nature of Voltage Delivery
A supercapacitor is not a constant voltage device while a battery is a constant voltage device. From the voltage curve of a supercapacitor, the voltage drops from a maximum value to zero drastically as the supercapacitor current is drawn from the capacitor. On the other hand, a battery is a constant voltage device that delivers a constant voltage to a load.
2. The Rate of Energy Discharge
A supercapacitor charges and discharges faster than a battery. A supercapacitor can take less than a minute to charge to its maximum value while a battery usually takes hours to accumulate power to its maximum rating because of the gradual voltage increase across its cells,
3. Supercapacitor and Battery Lifespans
A supercapacitor has a longer lifespan than a battery. Since supercapacitors are composed of only capacitor plates with a dielectric material between them, they tend to last longer because of their simple designs. On the other hand, batteries have a shorter lifespan because the voltage retention capacity of their cells depreciates with time and their designs are a little more complicated that of supercapacitors.
4. Energy Delivery Temperatures
A supercapacitor can deliver energy at lower temperatures compared to a battery. A supercapacitor can supply current to a load at temperatures as low as -40 degrees centigrades while a battery delivers charge at temperatures between zero degrees and 45 degrees centigrade.
5. Levels of Power Densities
Batteries have higher power densities than supercapacitors. As a result, batteries discharge slowly as current flows out of their cells. On the other hand, supercapacitors have lower current densities because they discharge very fast when current is drawn from them by the load.
In summary, despite the differences between supercapacitors and batteries, they are both important because they have unique features that make each suitable for specific applications. Batteries are used in cars, motorcycles, generators while supercapacitors are used in applications which need high power surges for a short period such as in starter circuits of hybrid vehicles. Therefore, the supercapacitors vs. batteries debate are complementary not rivalry.