Skip to Main Content
Power systems for applications with transients can sometimes be made smaller and lighter by adding energy storage. Our goal was to optimize an air borne power system by adding energy storage of various types and amounts to reduce power dissipation. Three technologies were examined: electrochemical capacitors, electrolytic capacitors, and lithium-ion batteries. For a given storage mass (~30 kg), ultra-high-power lithium-ion battery technology and standard electrochemical capacitor technology each offer significant system efficiency improvements. The battery system contains about ten-times more energy than the capacitor system, which may offer some advantages, but batteries need maintenance and require safety management electronics. Electrolytic capacitors have high power but insufficient energy to provided significant efficiency improvements. Further power dissipation reductions can best be achieved with electrochemical capacitors that have specific power higher than available in today's products.