Saturday, November 6, 2010

Introducing the Lithium Ion *Capacitor* and yet more burdensome battery regulations

At last, a bit of new energy technology on the scene.

Taiyo-Yuden has introduced the new Cylinder Type Lithium Ion Capacitor.

This new style of component is a hybrid of Lithium-Ion Battery and Electric Double Layer Capacitors (EDLC) more commonly known as SuperCaps or BoostCaps, depending on who's trade mark you want to infringe.

They operate in the voltage ranges of 2.2V to 3.8V. Higher than your typical EDLC and lower than your typical Lithium Ion battery when charging, so it makes using most existing controllers problematic for either type.

Three capacities are offered at 40 Farads (LIC1235R 3R8406), 100 Farads (LIC1840R 3R8107) and 200 Farads (LIC2540R 3R8207).

Alas the data sheet is a bit vague in many places, as I don't think anyone really knows how these might work over the long term. The data sheet is also perplexing in some places with comments like this in the footnotes:

  • #7 Consult us about the discharging current.
  • #12 Consult us about cleaning condition when cleaning circuit-board after soldering. Cleaning may affect lithium ion capacitor. Consult us about cleaning conditions beforehand.

I did consult the Midwest Sales Office and they had no idea what those meant, and I'm still waiting for their reply back from the factory. The Sales Office told me that DigiKey and other distributors had been given pricing that was in the $50 class before distribution markup. Expensive for a LiIon Battery, and low for a EDLC. Hopefully these don't have the hazards shipping charges like I covered last week.

With charge currents in the two to five amp range it will be interesting to see how fast these can be charged up. On the discharge side things are a bit whimper showing that these would be good for LED Flash Lights or memory backup rather than arc welding. Can't wait to get my hands on some to play with.

Now that we have covered the really exciting stuff that keeps you and I in this field, we have to cover the depressing stuff that wants to drive us all screaming from the field, yet more regulations.

UL is warnings us that even more onerous regulations will be coming to batteries in Developments in Battery Research Lead to New Safety Standards as detailed in their new White Paper Safety Issues for Lithium-Ion Batteries (Alas registration is required so that the UL may spam you).

While I'm sure UL does make the world a safer place, I detest that it is an entity that continually creates high price documents that I must purchase and comply to so that they profit and I don't. It is a really good gig if you can figure out how to create such an industry for yourself.

Have you ever actually tried to get a UL1642 test report from a battery manufacture? They don't want to give them up because the say things like "Flamed but did not ignite Cheesecloth". Statements like that kill using that product in places like Coal Mines where Intrinsic Safety is required. Saft Batteries are probably our best hope for such and environment right now.

Ever wonder where some of these hideous laws and regulations come from? Read Shaping State Laws With Little Scrutiny by Laura Sullivan, and you will be appalled, but probably not suprized.

What will the next new energy technology be? Can't wait to find out...