With Hybrid Capacitors, LEDs Have a Bright Future

0

LED lights, or light emitting diodes, are increasingly more common in newly manufactured devices. A beneficial addition to solid-state lighting, LEDs provide long-life lighting technology in applications such as safety street lighting, vehicles, medical devices and garden lighting. With a brighter output, longer life, lower consumption of power and little to no required maintenance, LEDs are a much-improved lighting option over incandescent bulbs.

Why hybrid capacitors?

LEDs have bright output with low input power, which is only improved with the use of hybrid capacitors. A combination of an ultracapacitor and a lithium-ion battery, hybrid capacitors are an ideal choice to power LEDs. Because of the low energy and power of LEDs, hybrid capacitors are a longer-term energy source than alternative energy storage solutions on the market. With an energy density up to 115 percent higher than standard electric double-layer capacitors (ELDCs), hybrid capacitors offer increased energy storage.

Previously, the sole energy storage option for LEDs was a rechargeable battery. This presented a problem, as the batteries are insufficient in wide-ranging temperatures. If too warm or too cold, the battery will not function properly. Another issue was the short life span. For example, in garden lighting, LEDs lasted on average about two years. The batteries could not be replaced, requiring consumers to buy new lights frequently.

With the introduction of hybrid capacitors in LEDs, these issues were improved. Consumers looked for an option that provided a quick recharge, high power and a long life. Capacitors delivered. Furthermore, because LEDs use a minimal amount of energy, hybrid capacitors can provide power for an extended amount of time. This saves both time and money, as little maintenance is required.

Applications exist in a wide range of industries.

Hybrid capacitors provide more than 20 times the cycle life and 60 times faster recharge rates than nickel cadmium or lithium-ion batteries, which makes for greatly improved LED lighting products for a variety of applications, including:

Medical devices: Hybrid capacitors provide faster and more efficient power to LED lights used in medical devices. These devices can charge in as little as 60 seconds and have enough power to last all day. Because capacitor cycle life generally matches or exceeds the device life, manufacturers can now design hybrid capacitors permanently into devices. The hybrid capacitor can last in the device for more than 10 years.

Off-grid signage: LEDs are a prime option for safety lighting on the roads. When power is out, hybrid capacitors can charge the bulbs for required emergency lighting. This is possible through solar power.

Vehicles: LEDs have become more prominent in the transportation market by providing many benefits, including reduced energy use, increased gas mileage in cars and little to no maintenance. Hybrid capacitors provide power to the LEDs in emergency situations when there is no other power source available.

Garden lighting: When powered by hybrid ultracapacitors, LEDs are optimal for garden or sidewalk lighting. The lights don’t need to be replaced when deploying hybrid ultracapacitors in this application, as is the case with batteries, so no maintenance is required.

The industry potential continues to grow.

Already, using hybrid capacitors to power LED lights is seeing widespread adoption throughout Asia. The lights are used to illuminate pools, sidewalks and walkways, as well as for decorative building lighting. In all of these applications, solar power provides backup power during power outages.

The future may also bring a light bulb that contains a hybrid capacitor. In the case of lost power, there would be no need for a separate backup source; the hybrid capacitor will already be installed in the LED bulb. Contrary to popular belief, this technology would not drive up costs. It’s possible to manufacture this combined solution in a cost-effective manner. With long-lasting power, hybrid capacitors will increasingly be adopted into LED lighting technology, especially as the use of LEDs grows.

Article by Chad Hall (chall@ioxus.com), founder and a vice president of sales at Ioxus, Inc., focusing on European sales. Previously, he spent 14 years with Ioxus’ parent company, Custom Electronics, Inc. (CEI). His extensive mechanical engineering and business experience helped establish Ioxus from funding to factory to launch.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

Join the Conversation