3V prismatic supercapacitor is industry first

April 11, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
CAP-XX has developed a 3V thin, prismatic supercapacitor that it says is the first in the industry. The technology is being launched at a conference in Berlin tomorrow.

The technology is initially aimed at small, inexpensive, energy-efficient power solutions for thin wearables, key FOBs and other IoT devices. CAP-XX will then integrate the 3V technology into its larger prismatic supercapacitors, automotive modules and other products for high-energy, high-power applications.

The new 3V supercapacitors eliminate the need for low-dropout (LDO) voltage regulators or buck converters to step the voltage down to work with the industry’s existing 2.7V-rated thin, prismatic supercapacitors. CAP-XX is initially targeting markets using 3V coin cell batteries, where popular batteries such as the CR2032 have reasonable energy (~220mAh) but have trouble delivering the peak power (~100mA) needed for data collection and transmission. The CAP-XX devices can handle those power bursts and can be placed directly across the battery without the intermediary LDO. 

This also saves power as assuming constant power, an LDO dropping the battery voltage from 3V to 2.7V will lose 10% of the battery energy. On top of that, assuming the LDO draws 1µA, an additional 8.8mAh (4% of a typical CR2032’s energy) is lost per year. The projected yearly energy savings therefore is 22% over three years and 30% over five years. The company projects that its 3V supercapacitor approach will also be up to 50% cheaper than a buck coverter a design. 

If an application operates down to 1.8V, then a 3V supercapacitor stores 42% more usable energy than a 2.7V one, along with a low leakage current, approximately 1.5µA for a 500mF cell at 3V. As the battery discharges and voltage reduces, the supercapacitor leakage current also reduces to about 0.7µA at 2.5V. 

The company has successfully tested prototypes at 3V, 70°C meeting the IEC 62391 requirement for endurance and has started production trials, with samples expected for customers by end of August 2018, and mass production in the first half of 2019. Pricing will start at less than US$1 in large volumes. CAP-XX will become the only manufacturer to provide a 3V