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Ultracapacitors for drag racing?

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    Posted: 06 June 2016 at 3:59pm
Hello all,
A bit of background: My company ( www.adgero.eu )works on ultracapacitor-based kinetic energy recovery systems for heavy vehicles. The reason we use capacitors for most systems (sometimes in concert with batteries) is because they can be charged and discharged extremely quickly at very high currents, which is essential to recovering as much energy as possible during regenerative braking. They also have a lifetime which is a couple of orders of magnitude longer than batteries which is reassuring for operators. The downside of capacitors compared to batteries of course is their low energy density, so you're not going to be able to drive miles on end with just ultracaps.

So, a friend of mine asked me an interesting question. He wondered if ultracapacitors would be interesting for drag racers, since gobs of power for a short period of time are the name of the game. Off the top of my head I figured it would make sense, but I'd like to get some more informed opinions, and since I'm going to be going to ComVec in Melbourne in July and will have some of these modules with me for people to poke and prod, I thought I'd ask an Australian forum.

Here are the key bits of information about these modules:

Nominal voltage 160 V
Absolute maximum voltage 171 V
Minimum monitoring voltage 15 V
Rated capacitance, initial 50 F
ESR (10 ms DC), initial 14,8 mΩ
ESR (Ac 0,1 Hz), initial 14,8 mΩ
ESR (DC 5 s current-cut) 18,8 mΩ
Leakage current at 25 °C, maximum
Under 150 V 3 mA
Above 150 V 6 mA
Maximum peak current (for 1s duration) 2299 A
Short circuit current 8,5 kA
Maximum module series voltage 1280 V
Maximum stored energy 178 Wh
Number of cells 60
Individual cell capacitance 3000 F
Individual cell rated voltage 2,7 V

Nominal Power (calculated from ESR 10ms)

Nominal specific power
(matched impedance) kW/kg 7,72
Nominal power density
(matched impedance) kW/L 8,34

Practical Power (calculated from ESR AC 0.1 Hz)

Power
(matched impedance) kW 432,43
Practical specific power
(matched impedance) kW/kg 7,72
Practical power density
(matched impedance) kW/L 8,34

Physical Parameters
Typical mass (± 0,002 kg) kg 56,0
Volume L 51,8
Length - width - height mm 768-430-157

Life
Life at rated voltage and maximum
operating temperature 2000 h
Projected life at rated voltage and 25 °C 10 years
Projected cycle life at 25 °C 1,000,000 cycles


Thanks for any feedback you can give me!

Mack Murray
Adgero SAS
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adverse Effects Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 June 2016 at 4:35pm
Individual cell
2.7 VDC and 3000 F

3000 Farad's WOW

1 of those would make an insane capacitor discharge spot welder

most likely a dumb question but what is a single cell worth?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adgero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 June 2016 at 5:25pm
Hi Adverse Effects,
One cell would set you back about 120 euros I'd say but I'd have to check the minimum order quantities.

In a different application we have 24V or 12V systems that look just like a truck battery but they use basically the same cells (the voltage per cell is a tad higher).

The 24V version is rated for 960 cold-cranking amps and the 12V rates 1500 CCA. Something in this format might be easier to integrate into a welding setup than using individual cells.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EV2Go Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 11:47am
Hey Mack often practicality and logistics get in the road of a good idea...

Unless there is a significant cost or weight saving over batteries they would struggle to catch on in drag racing.

While the idea is sound, you have to think about being able to recharge them again in a hurry. Yes the capacitors can be physically recharged quick but with what?

The issue is not in the storage but in a quick recharge. Most drag strips don't have adequate power on site to recharge at a rate that would allow you to do a full nights racing, which would leave you having to bring a generator the size of a small town yourself to recharge fast enough to do back to back racing.

Where I see a potential use for them is in storing the juice to be quickly feed to the battery pack. Because you wont deplete the battery pack after each run you could maybe use the capacitors to do quick top ups after each run.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Johny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 12:22pm
Originally posted by EV2Go EV2Go wrote:

Where I see a potential use for them is in storing the juice to be quickly feed to the battery pack. Because you wont deplete the battery pack after each run you could maybe use the capacitors to do quick top ups after each run.
Or maybe the opposite. Use the caps in the vehicle and a battery pack to re-charge them. Gosh - money's no hurdle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote woody Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 12:25pm
Update: See below - my 2400Wh is way off

I think it's marginal.

56kg for 160V / 1000+ amps for a few seconds sounds ideal. But you you'd only get 1 or 2 seconds per box.

You'd need a few - it would take about 2400Wh to get a 1100kg car to 400m at 145kph. Which is more than 10 units = 560kg.

It's only 178Wh = 1.1 Ah = each unit would charge in a few minutes from a 10A powerpoint.

Range for a small EV would be less than 2 km per box...

Would be awesome for a smaller vehicle, say a bike or go-kart.



Edited by woody - 07 June 2016 at 2:31pm
Planned EV: '63 Cortina using AC and LiFePO4 Battery Pack
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Richo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 1:28pm
2400Wh = 8,640,000 Joules
Say you did it in 15secs that works out to 576kW.
Sounds unlikely.

Even looking it from just the work point of view:
Ej = 1/2mv^2
Ej = 1/2 x 1100 x 40.2^2
Ej = 892,000 Joules -> 247Wh.

Even with equal force the opposite way that's still only 495Wh.

Are you sure you didn't add an extra zero...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 1:32pm
Originally posted by Adgero Adgero wrote:

They also have a lifetime which is a couple of orders of magnitude longer than batteries which is reassuring for operators.


Um don't confuse cycle life with overall lifetime.
Most batteries will have the same ~10 year life span as ultracaps.

As apposed to cycle life LifFePO4 3,000 vs Ultra caps 1,000,000.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote woody Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 1:59pm
It's from the spreadsheet (tm).
Sum of Power = Force * Speed for each bit of accelleration:

e.g. 0-1km/h = (4123 N * 0m/s + 4123N * 0.28m/s) / 2 /60 / 60 * 1000000 = 160mWh

Sum of all those up to 145km/h = 2.4kWh.

Add to your 247Wh some rolling resistance:

160N * 400m = 64kJ

Air Drag @ 145kph = 760N

Hmm, not getting very far there.

3000N over 400m = 1200kJ = 333Wh - same ballpark as you.

I think I've left out the time element in my energy calculation...

Redoing...

Planned EV: '63 Cortina using AC and LiFePO4 Battery Pack
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote woody Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 2:09pm
... OK now I get 251Wh for a 400m run which is more like it!
100Wh for 0-100.

OK, so you'd need 2 or 3 not 10 :-)

Ship a few over and we'll test them out!

Planned EV: '63 Cortina using AC and LiFePO4 Battery Pack
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adverse Effects Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 2:19pm
Originally posted by Adgero Adgero wrote:

One cell would set you back about 120 euros


120.00 EUR = 183.483 AUD


so a 12V unit would be $1100.90 AUD


so a 160V system would cost $88071.84 and dont forget the shipping and tax and GST once it gets here

is my math correct?

Edited by Adverse Effects - 07 June 2016 at 2:27pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adgero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 June 2016 at 2:36pm
Hello all, I'm on my phone at the moment, so I'll just answer that last question about price. That is indeed the price for the pre-series units, as they are made in very low volumes. By the end of the summer that will come down by about 30% as production starts to move to an automated process. By the end of 2017 when the automated line is running full tilt the cells will cost about a third of what they do now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 June 2016 at 12:52pm
Originally posted by woody woody wrote:

... OK now I get 251Wh for a 400m run which is more like it!


Maths rules Yeah

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adgero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 June 2016 at 3:22pm
"Ship a few over and we'll test them out!"

Well, if you think you'd be able to use them, I'd be happy to discuss it. Drag racers are more exciting to watch than trucks, that's for sure.
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"Um don't confuse cycle life with overall lifetime.
Most batteries will have the same ~10 year life span as ultracaps.

As apposed to cycle life LifFePO4 3,000 vs Ultra caps 1,000,000."

You're correct, I should have said cycle life.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote galderdi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 June 2016 at 2:30pm
Mack,

I am also quite interested for my application. I am thinking I need around 875wh for the longest of my runs. So I think 5 or 6 of your packs would do the trick. But am I understanding that your 178wh pack is 56kg? If thats the case it won't work for me. My total battery weight at the moment is only 65kg and gives me 7kwh.

My requirements are similar to drag racing as you can see from some of my videos.

I need to understand how the charging would work. If I use my existing batteries as a power source how can I throttle the current so I don't blow the batteries?

https://youtu.be/AI05031el7k
https://youtu.be/1vtV3ZkdU5A
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Adgero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 June 2016 at 4:12am
Originally posted by galderdi galderdi wrote:

Mack,

I am also quite interested for my application. I am thinking I need around 875wh for the longest of my runs. So I think 5 or 6 of your packs would do the trick. But am I understanding that your 178wh pack is 56kg? If thats the case it won't work for me. My total battery weight at the moment is only 65kg and gives me 7kwh.

My requirements are similar to drag racing as you can see from some of my videos.

I need to understand how the charging would work. If I use my existing batteries as a power source how can I throttle the current so I don't blow the batteries?

https://youtu.be/AI05031el7k
https://youtu.be/1vtV3ZkdU5A


Hi Galderdi,
Thanks for the videos! To be honest I don't think ultracaps on their own would make sense for autocross since energy density would always be a problem. Perhaps using a small ultracap module connected via DC/DC converter to handle peak currents in a KERS role could be useful, although you'd have to crunch the numbers on whether it would be worth the weight or cost. For your charging question, do you mean batteries as power source to charge the ultracaps before a run? I'm not sure it would be worth the trouble doing things that way, since you'd have to set up a DC/DC charging system of some sort and if you're going to go the the trouble of doing that you'd probably be better off just charging off the grid if you have something over 110V available or just swapping out the modules for charged ones. But this is a bit moot since replacing your battery with ultracaps wouldn't give you any advantage in the sort of racing you're doing.

Something interesting popped up in my facebook feed, however:

http://insideevs.com/800-volts-dragster-electric-fox-sets-european-14-mile-record-7-631-seconds/

These fellas use motors from the same outfit we source our motors for our KERS for semi-trailers, YASA Motors, so I think I'll drop YASA a line and see if they can put me in touch with the electric fox crew. I'll keep you posted!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 June 2016 at 1:09pm
EDLC's are around 4-6Wh/kg

So 875Wh would be 145-220kg depending on brand and size.
So I doubt it would be suitable to use them for the whole run.

For your application you would only consider them IF you batteries could not supply the peak motor power for the run.

Given some li-po's do 50C; 7kWh would be 350kW.
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