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Energy-storage systems (ESSs) play an important role in electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid EV (HEV) applications. In the system, an ultracapacitor is preferred for high power buffer and regenerative braking energy storage because it has the advantages of high power density, long life cycles, and high efficiency. While in the high-voltage application, the ultracapacitors are employed in series, and the voltage unbalance issue must be taken care of. This paper presents a novel circuit for equalizing a series ultracapacitor stack, which is based on a dc-dc converter. The proposed voltage-equalization circuit derives energy from the series ultracapacitor stack and transfers them to the weakest ultracapacitor cell. The equalizer balances the whole stack by sequentially compensating the weak ultracapacitor cells. Unlike previous methods for battery-storage systems, which include complex circuit detecting and comparing the voltages of capacitor cells, the novel equalizer can realize autonomic voltage equalization without voltage detection and comparison, and it is more efficient with the soft switching method, which is a benefit for high-power applications in EV/HEV. The simulation and experiment results validate the feasibility of the proposed equalization circuits.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2009