Electrochemical double-layer capacitors (EDLCs or ECs), also known as
supercapacitors or ultracapacitors, as well as their sister product,
asymmetrical electrochemical double-layer capacitors (AEDLCs), are
already mature technologies with a growing range of applications in
electric vehicles, mobile phones, energy harvesting, renewable energy
and other products of the future.
properties intermediate between those of batteries and traditional
capacitors, but they are being improved more rapidly than either. That
includes improvement in cost, and the cost reductions result in their
use to enhance batteries and even to replace batteries and capacitors in
an increasing number of applications, from renewable energy to
microscopic electronics. For example, today a smart mobile phone may
have better sound and flash that works at ten times the distance because
a supercapacitor has taken over these functions from conventional
For many applications, the relatively high
cost of ECs is currently the primary reason they are not the energy
storage technology of choice. Despite their high level of performance,
these capacitors are simply too expensive to compete against the other
available approaches. For some applications, potential users find ECs of
interest but conclude that their energy density is too low. Hence,
increasing energy density and lowering cost are the primary challenges
facing EC developers. This must be done without sacrificing the high
cycle life and exceptional high-rate performance that sets ECs apart
Between 2009 and 2013, much research has
been done on the use of graphene in electrodes to boost energy storage
and increase voltage in supercapacitors. These priority research
directions for supercapacitors, if followed, should lead to major
performance improvements in energy storage and voltage, keeping price
objectives on top priority.
Two major forces will shape market dynamics that are quite favorable for technology adoption in the supercapacitors business:
- rapidly advancing ultracapacitor technology, which will improve price/performance ratio; and
- quickly evolving “green energy” applications for which the ultracapacitors are becoming key enabling technology.
a few more years, ultracapacitors are expected to become a mainstream
technology, along with established electrochemical battery energy
storage. The market for ultracapacitor products is growing rapidly and
becoming more diverse as new applications are developed and
STUDY GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
study focuses on key ultracapacitor products, the impact of new
materials such as grapheme-based electrodes, carbide-derived carbon
(CDC), ionic electrolytes, and new configurations such as lithium
supercapacitors, nickel/carbon supercapacitors, asymetrical and hybrid
supercapacitors. A major goal of the study is to provide the size and
growth of the ultracapacitors markets, industry trends, company
profiles, recent patents and review of new partnerships. Another goal of
this report is to provide a detailed and comprehensive mult-client
study of the markets in North America, Europe, Japan, China, Korea and
the rest of the world (ROW) for ultracapacitors, as well as provide
potential business opportunities in the future.
objectives include thorough coverage of underlying economic issues
driving the ultracapacitor business, as well as assessments of new,
advanced ultracapacitors that nearly sixty companies are developing in
2013. Also covered are current legislative pressures for more safety and
environmental protection, as well as users’ expectations for economical
ultracapacitors. Another important objective is to provide realistic
market data and forecasts for ultracapacitors through 2018.
users in developed markets must contend with twin pressures – to
innovate and, at the same time, to reduce costs. Cost continues to be
one of the main factors seriously restricting further propagation of
supercapacitors. While being challenged by batteries and conventional
capacitors, the product is slowly finding its way in various industries.
In spite of the applicability of the supercapacitor from the technical
standpoint, it will be always frowned on if the subsequent cost is high.
Therefore the study also looks at the cost considerations of
ultracapacitors in competition with other energy storage devices.
REASONS FOR DOING THE STUDY
applications for ultracapacitors have been proposed in recent years.
The popularity of these devices is due to their long cycle life and high
power density relative to batteries. Ultracapacitors exhibit, in
principle, unlimited cycle life and maintenance-free operation as an
alternative to batteries in power circuits. New, promising applications
for ultracapacitors are battery-less, low power, harvested wireless
sensor networks, as well as pulse-power sources in fuel cell and hybrid
vehicle applications and power tools. The pulse-power source provides
peak power during acceleration and stores regenerative energy during
braking in hybrid vehicles.
The ultracapacitor business
is currently undergoing a major structural shift caused by several
developments in nano-structured carbon, carbon nanotubes, low-cost
graphitic carbon, barium titanate ceramic electrodes, nano-graphene
platelet (NGP) electrodes, and research on new asymetricals (nickel
hydroxides, ruthenium oxide) and new hybrid technologies (lithium-ion
supercapacitors, or LICs, nickel carbon supercapacitors, and CDC-based
electrodes, that challenge the status quo. These developments are
targeted toward boosting the energy density and reducing cost to create
preference for the products, with or without battery, among application
As prices of ultracapacitors drop, better
commercial viability and growing dissatisfaction with existing energy
storage solutions are expected to steer customers toward this emerging
technology. Application in combination with large batteries, in
stationary renewable energy power stations such as wind and solar,
“green” mobile applications such as battery-less, short-range city buses
running purely on supercaps, and in hybrid electric cars in combination
with batteries, are a few strong areas of growth. This will be
especially true as continuous product enhancements and value-added
features such as on-line gaming and Wi-Fi accessibility in consumer
electronics necessarily require more power. Multi-functionality is
driving change in the energy storage landscape. The consumer electronics
industry has changed drastically in the past few years. Portable
devices are increasingly becoming multi-functional, not only in phones,
which currently work for many purposes (e.g., making calls, sending SMS,
internet navigation, email, video playing), but also in cameras and
other devices as well. Supercapacitors fit well into the emerging
energy storage landscape.
Demand from the industrial
sector is also expected to increase. Heavy-lifting cranes and heavy
usage in power tools are emerging applications of supercapacitors.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of uninterruptible power
supplies (UPSs) and DC power systems are looking at incorporating
ultracapacitors as the primary energy storage solution to boost power
reliability. Small form factor supercapacitors are increasingly
preferred for battery-less, ultra-low power wireless networks.
conducted a study on ultracapacitors in 2009. Since then, many new
developments have taken place in technology, industry and markets, such
as more new-generation electric and hybrid vehicles, new material
technologies, and many new entrants to the market. Therefore, iRAP felt a
need to conduct a detailed study in order to better understand both the
technology and market dynamics. The report identifies and evaluates
market potential in stationary, industrial, consumer and transport
CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE STUDY
study provides the most thorough and up-to-date assessment that can be
found anywhere on the subject. The study also provides extensive
quantification of the many important facets of market development taking
place in ultracapacitors throughout the world. This, in turn,
contributes to a determination of what kind of strategic response
companies may adopt in order to compete in this dynamic market.
study provides the most complete accounting of ultracapacitor market
growth in North America, Europe, Japan, China, Korea and the rest of the
world. The study also provides extensive quantification of the many
important facets of market developments in emerging markets for
stationary, industrial, consumer and transport energy storage. The study
also covers new usage of ultracapacitors in automatic power metering,
energy harvesting devices for wireless networking, and hard disc drives
of notebooks. This quantification, in turn, contributes to the
determination of what kinds of strategic responses suppliers may adopt
in order to compete in these dynamic markets.
SCOPE AND FORMAT
present survey focuses on four major markets – stationary energy
storage, industrial energy storage, consumer electronics energy storage
and transport energy storage. It also covers seven distinct technologies
– activated carbon, hybrid/asymmetrical, pseudocapacitors, carbon
aerogels, barium titanate, carbide derived carbon (CDC) and
graphene/nanostructured carbon-based electrodes.
market data contained in this report quantify opportunities for
ultracapacitors. In addition to product types, this report also covers
the many issues concerning the merits and future prospects of the
ultracapacitor business, including corporate strategies, information
technologies, and the means for providing these highly advanced product
and service offerings.
The supply chain is of keen
interest, including both carbon cloth and powder. The need for higher
voltages per cell and automation are addressed. Lower raw materials
prices are crucial to reaching price targets of $0.01 to $0.005 per
farad by 2015.
This report also covers in detail the
economic and technological issues regarded by many as critical to the
industry’s current state of change. It provides a review of the
ultracapacitor industry and its structure, and of the many companies
involved in providing these products. The competitive positions of the
main players in the market and the strategic options they face are also
discussed, along with such competitive factors as marketing,
distribution and operations.
TO WHOM THE STUDY CATERS
study addresses the global market for electric double-layer carbon
(EDLC) supercapacitors, which demonstrate the unique characteristic of
having extremely high capacitance (in the farad range) in low voltage
cells (1.2Vdc to 2.5Vdc in large quantities).
looks at this fledging market, the players, the technical challenges,
and technical threats; the activated carbon supply chain; and the end
markets in which these devices are consumed – stationary, industrial,
consumer and transport energy storage. It further focuses on coin cells
and large can supercapacitors and the rapid growth of large can designs
in variable speed drives, and heavy trucks and buses.
for this study include marketing executives, business unit managers,
and other decision makers in ultracapacitor companies, as well as in
companies peripheral to this business.
The study will
benefit existing manufacturers of capacitors who seek to expand revenues
and market opportunities by moving to new technology such as
ultracapacitors, which are positioned to become a preferred solution for
many energy-storage and power-delivery applications. Also, this study
will benefit users of ultracapacitors who deal with new power-hungry
electronic products such as wireless communications devices, the
increasing use of electric power in vehicles, and the growing demand for
highly reliable, maintenance-free backup power. These demands are
creating significant markets for new and improved energy-storage and
power-delivery solutions. For example, sizing the primary power source
to meet transient peak-power requirements, rather than average- power
requirements, is costly and inefficient. Primary energy sources
can be designed to be smaller, lighter and less costly if they are
coupled with specialized power components, such as ultracapacitors, that
can deliver or absorb brief bursts of high power on demand for periods
of time ranging from fractions of a second to several minutes.
once a technological novelty, are now in mainstream and are showing
significant sales volumes. The ultracapacitor industry is complex and
fast-moving, with large variations in technology adopted, material
composition and configuration. Around the world, consumers are
demanding high power density as well as extremely long cycle life
(although ultracapacitor energy density is small compared with that of
batteries). Focusing on different market segments, manufacturers
increasingly are adopting a truly global view of the market, attempting
to achieve growth through company mergers and acquisitions and by
implementing global strategies.
market is an attractive market characterized by very high production
volumes of units that must be both extremely reliable and low in cost.
At hundreds of millions of dollars, the market is still growing. This
growth continues to be driven by increasing demands for these devices as
energy storage in combination with battery in stationary renewable
sources of energy like wind and solar power stations, transport vehicles
such as green buses, heavy cranes, fuel cells, hybrid vehicles,
industrial systems, power tools and consumer electronics. Existing
products will continue to find new applications, and new products will
emerge to improve functionality.
There are four major
markets where ultracapacitors are needed, each having its own specific
requirements. These are stationary, industrial, consumer and transport
energy storage power management. A wide range of ultracapacitor
applications, such as uninterruptible power supplies, clean energy,
backup power and automobiles, will see market growth.
- The stationary energy storage market needs ultracapacitors for short
duration applications of energy storage, which are characterized by the
need for high power for short periods of time. These include power
quality ride-through applications, power stabilization, adjustable speed
drive support, temporary support of distributed resources during load
steps, voltage flicker mitigation and many other applications. Most of
these will involve anywhere from only a few seconds of energy storage up
to 20 minutes or so. Other applications are: backup power
(uninterruptible power supply) and power management systems used in distributed generation and wind and solar energy generating stations.
- The industrial market needs ultracapacitors for power quality, handling
power surges and short-term power loss. Since electricity is
transmitted at 60Hz or 120Hz, this market also needs high-frequency
devices, based on aqueous electrodes, on a much larger scale.
- The consumer electronics and computer market needs small high-frequency devices in order to reduce battery size.
- Based on potential volumes, the transportation industry represents the
largest market opportunity for ultracapacitors. The transport energy
storage market wants to use ultracapacitors as load-leveling devices
with batteries in electric and hybrid vehicles. Transportation
applications include braking energy recuperation and torque augmentation
systems for hybrid-electric buses, trucks and autos and electric rail
vehicles, vehicle power network smoothing and stabilization, engine
starting systems for internal combustion vehicles, and burst power for
idle stop-start systems.
including increasing use of electric power in vehicles, wireless
communication systems and growing demand for highly reliable,
maintenance-free, backup power for telecommunication information
technology and industrial installations are creating significant
opportunities for more efficient and reliable energy storage and power
The ultracapacitor business is
currently undergoing a major structural shift caused by several
developments in nanostructured carbon, carbon nanotubes, low-cost
graphitic carbon, barium titanate ceramic electrodes and nano-graphene
platelets (NGP) electrodes. Research on new asymmetrical ultracapacitors
(nickel hydroxides, ruthenium oxide) and new hybrid technologies –
lithium-ion supercapacitors (LIC) and nickel carbon supercapacitors –
challenges the status quo. The high capacitance associated with graphene
appears to be an edge effect, and it is predicted that by 2018,
cost-effective manufacturing of grapheme-based electrodes will be a
The report has estimated the markets according
to applications, form factors and regions. In terms of the industry
structure, there are more than sixty companies involved in the
development and manufacturing of ultracapacitors, and there is a
surprising range of products available. The study also identified a
dozen electrode material/finished electrode suppliers.
in 2013, industrial applications such as large uninterruptible power
supplies (UPS), OEM equipment, cranes, electric forklifts, power tools,
AGVs, clean tech for commercial and other industrial uses constitute
the largest application, by 2018 hybridized transportation energy
storage application (autos, trains, transit vehicles, buses, trucks),
power device net, HEVs and Evs will have the largest share.
terms of size (form factor), large-sized rectangular or cylindrical
jelly-rolled, more than ten farad up to 5000 farad, sold as single
cells or in modules or in banks with varying voltage and farad
requirements will have the largest share and will continue to hold on
the share during the forecast period.
Major findings of this report are:
2013, the global market is estimated to reach US$625 million, and it is
expected to grow to over US$1.4 billion by 2018. The compound annual
average growth rate (CAGR) is estimated to be 17.5% from 2013 to 2018.
American will continue to maintain its share in the next five years.
North American market will be followed by Japan, China, Europe and
Korea. China and Korea will see larger growth rates of above 20%
From 2013 to 2018, transportation applications,
which are mostly automotive applications, will show the highest growth
rate, followed by stationary energy including sources storage for
renewable energy power, consumer electronics and industrial