Skeleton in bus graphene ultracapacitor deal

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

German power technology developer Skeleton Technologies is working with Wrightbus to integrate its ultracapacitors into hydrogen powered buses.

This is the first commercial release of Skeleton’s next generation high energy ultracapacitors based on a customised version of graphene that the company says provides the highest power density in the market, twice that of the closest competitors, including Tesla. A deal with Wrightbus for the first generation ultracapacitors was announced back in 2018 but the bus maker went into administration last year.

Hybridization of fuel cell vehicles with ultracapacitors reduces the stress on fuel cells and benefits the vehicles’ fuel economy, allowing them to function more efficiently and increasing the overall range of the system.

“Since fuel cells are not able to recuperate the braking energy and re-use it for acceleration, they need efficient energy storage devices to improve overall system efficiency and total cost of ownership,” said Taavi Madiberk, CEO and co-founder of Skeleton Technologies. “Combining ultracapacitors and fuel cells will speed up the market adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Wrightbus is at the forefront of development of hydrogen vehicles and we are very excited to work with one of the most ambitious companies in the sector. We see a clear potential of 1000 buses in the next 5 years. Based on the technology and its underlying economics, we have reason to believe that all hydrogen powered trucks and buses could eventually adopt our products.”

Wrightbus is a founding member of the H2Bus Consortium that was announced in June 2019 to deploy at least 1,000 zero-emission Fuel Cell Electric Buses and related infrastructure in European cities at commercially competitive rates.

For hydrogen buses, Wrightbus is working with world-class leaders, such as Ballard Power for fuel cells and Skeleton Technologies for ultracapacitors,” said Wrightbus Chairman Jo Bamford. “Ultracapacitors and fuel cells are the ideal combination for better performance and lower cost of ownership but until now ultracapacitors were lacking in energy density. Skeleton’s Curved Graphene technology brings these needed improvements by doubling the energy density of ultracapacitors, and will therefore strongly contribute to the wide scale adoption of fuel-cell electric buses.”

Wrightbus plans initial pilot testing of the systems to be completed in 2021.

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