Supercapacitors have become an alternative to traditional batteries in applications in which energy must be delivered in a fast amount of time. Batteries typically deliver a higher energy than supercapacitors over a longer period of time, but a supercapacitor can deliver energy around ten times faster. While supercapacitors can be used as an alternative to regular batteries, they can also be paired with batteries to overcome the batteries’ shortcomings. However, lithium titanate-oxide (LTO) batteries offer the best of both worlds which makes them a great alternative to using supercapacitors and regular batteries.
Nichicon produces LTO batteries that incorporate the most advantageous features of supercapacitors and regular batteries. Our LTO batteries have rapid charge/ discharge cycles like supercapacitors with similar energy densities of regular batteries. LTO batteries have a cycle life similar to supercapacitors.
What is a Supercapacitor?
A supercapacitor is a type of capacitor that utilizes the double layer phenomenon to operate. While batteries operate with a process in which oppositely polarized ions accumulate at electrode surfaces, supercapacitors operate with chemical reactions between electrodes and electrolytes that enable current flow and create an electric double layer that electrostatically stores charges. By comparison, LTO batteries operate with a process in which lithium ions become stacked within the anode material and an electrochemical reaction causes disassociated lithium ions to pass through the solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) coating.
The following are the main characteristics of supercapacitors compared to LTO batteries:
Unlike normal batteries, supercapacitors have the ability to charge and discharge thousands of times because they store energy electrostatically. This allows for virtually unlimited charge/ discharge cycles. LTO batteries also have a long lifespan of charge/ discharge cycles but unlike standard lithium-ion batteries, LTO batteries have a lower internal resistance which reduces electrolyte decomposition for better lifecycle performance. LTO batteries can be charged and discharged over a longer period of time than supercapacitors.
Both supercapacitors and LTO batteries can operate in a wider temperature range than other types of batteries. Supercapacitors can operate in a temperature range of -40°C to +85°C (with voltage derating) while LTO batteries can operate in a temperature range of -30°C to +60°C with full rated voltage.
Supercapacitors have much lower energy density because they store energy electrostatically compared to batteries that store energy as chemical energy. Our LTO batteries have a higher capacity than supercapacitors and contain nearly 50 times as much energy as supercapacitors (EDLCs) of a similar size.
Power Density and Charge/ Discharge Time
Power density is directly related to charge/ discharge time. Supercapacitors offer higher power density due to their fast charge/ discharge times compared to regular batteries. Our LTO batteries have similar charge/ discharge times, which allows them to have power densities similar to supercapacitors.
Regular batteries contain harmful materials like cobalt and nickel which raises environmental concerns. Used batteries may leak these chemicals which can harm the natural environment by contaminating soil and water.
LTO batteries are also more sustainable than Li-Ion batteries as they are RoHS compliant and meet other environmental standards.
Can LTO Batteries Replace Supercapacitor?
While supercapacitors are used in many applications as an alternative to batteries, LTO batteries are an excellent alternative to supercapacitors. The LTO batteries produced by Nichicon combine the best characteristics of Li-Ion batteries and supercapacitors. Our LTO batteries have rapid charge/ discharge characteristics and a long service life similar to supercapacitors but with the higher energy density and constant voltage output of Li-Ion batteries.
In applications in which batteries and supercapacitors are paired together, one LTO battery can be used in their place.
The high energy density lithium batteries from Nichicon have a higher voltage output than many other batteries, superior performance and charge/ discharge capabilities, and a longer lifespan. You can expect consistent performance in a small size.
To learn more about our high-density batteries, call Nichicon or talk to a distributor or sales rep in your area.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONs
The lithium titanate battery (LTO) shares many characteristics with the lithium-ion battery. One difference is the LTO anode. An LTO battery uses lithium titanate oxide, while a lithium-ion battery uses carbon. By using lithium titanate, the battery has a significant performance improvement.
The SLB is a battery with long leads, just like a standard capacitor. The leaded profile allows for soldering directly to the circuit board using hand soldering or a select solder technique. Lithium Titanate batteries require an additional mounting bracket or holder placed on a circuit board. The Nichicon SLB (LTO) take less board space allowing them to be used in very compact or densely populated circuit boards.
LTO batteries are safer; they have an extremely small risk of ignition if there is a short. The SLB, Nichicon’s LTO battery, has superior charge and discharge capabilities, such as a 20C charge rate. Even higher rates are possible with pulsed discharges, like those used in telecommunications.
‘The SLB can withstand up to 25,000 charge/discharge cycles and have a lower cold temperature rating than a lithium-ion battery. And its low internal resistance allows energy harvesters to charge with weak currents without loss. They will not ignite if a short occurs. In addition to the advantages previously mentioned, the SLB comes in aluminum electrolytic case styles and size.
LTO batteries provide a substantial increase in capacity and demonstrate minimal self-discharge, distinguishing them from electric double-layer capacitors and enabling prolonged discharge. Remarkably, smaller rechargeable LTO batteries offer an impressive 20-30-fold increase in energy density compared to equivalently sized electric double-layer capacitors. Leveraging this significant advantage, our LTO batteries present a viable alternative to electric double-layer capacitors, delivering consistent power output over extended periods.
Our LTO batteries stand out in terms of their rapid charging, discharging, and extended lifespan, surpassing the capabilities of typical lithium-ion batteries while ensuring enhanced safety. Conventional lithium-ion rechargeable batteries face difficulties in achieving high power discharge, but our LTO batteries effortlessly handle this challenge with exceptional charge/discharge performance and remarkably fast charging times. The ability of LTO batteries to charge rapidly makes them ideal for devices that require quick charging intervals or scenarios. Unlike lithium-ion batteries LTO batteries can also be charged with weaker or low charging currents.