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Updated: Apr 13, 2021

November 5, 2020: A November 2 report by the market research firm IDTechEx says large supercapacitors “now compete head on” with batteries — with greater energy density than lithium-ion batteries, offering up to 1MWh of storage.

IDTechEx’s report looks at how supercapacitors can be a good option in tidal power, which by its nature is not uniform and requires smoothing to maintain output.

Some supercapacitors, says IDTechEx, are drop-in lead acid and lithium ion battery replacements, others are bought as uninterruptible power supplies with the ability to offer peak shaving, with power density 10 times that of lithium, and series resistance low.

“Frequently, supercapacitors are used as an energy storage device to smooth the output power and improve the low-voltage ride-through capability of energy conversion systems, being fit-and-forget and wasting 14% less electricity than lithium-ion batteries,” said IDTechEx CEO Raghu Das.

“Output power fluctuation caused by the swell effect (opposite of voltage dip) is efficiently smoothed by supercapacitor energy storage systems.”

Despite the apparent advantages of supercapacitors over other batteries, they have still not made much of a dent in a market that IDTechEx in 2012 admitted was overlooking them.

“It is now obvious that supercapacitors will be one of the very big nails in the coffin of lead acid batteries over the next few years, yet that is only part of the story as their parameters are being improved faster than the competition,” a ‘Supercapacitors replace batteries’ report by IDTechEx chairman and founder Peter Harrop had said in May 2012.

“Yet supercapacitors are an aspect of electronics and electrical engineering that is curiously neglected or talked down by the press, investors, potential suppliers and others living in the past despite a multi-billion dollar market rapidly emerging,” Harrop said.

Other market research firms have indicated the outlook is rosy for supercaps, with Allied Market Research estimating a CAGR of 23.3% from 2020 to 2027, increasing the market size in value from $3.27 billion in 2019 to $16.95 billion by 2027.

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