Field Application Engineer, AVX Corporation
The switch to alternative energy sources is an important ongoing issue within the technical
and scientific communities. From small-scale
operations, such as energy harvesting, to larger-scale ones,
such as solar and wind farms, there are a variety of ways in
which the field is advancing.
Supercapacitors are a major part of the future of alternative
energy, and are especially useful within the field of energy
harvesting technology. Energy harvesting focuses on gathering
a relatively small amount of energy from ambient sources,
such as solar or thermal energy, and then using that energy to
power small autonomous devices. Advances in supercapacitor
technology will allow these devices to achieve expanded
operational range, lifetime, and power density, all of which are
important to the future of energy harvesting.
Large-scale power generation is also important for
alternative energy. This is exemplified by the growth of
distributed grid power sources, including wind, geothermal,
and small-scale hydropower, which are becoming increasingly
efficient and important to the power grid as a whole.
Wind power systems can use power film capacitors to
further increase efficiency, helping to drive the overall
movement away from fossil fuels. Power film capacitors
can be used to replace older electrolytic capacitors in wind
power systems and offer a number of critical advantages,
including extended lifetimes and open-circuit end-of-life
performance. The increased lifetimes of these capacitors are
particularly advantageous in wind turbines, as they are often
located in remote, hard to reach locations, like offshore wind
farms, which can significantly increase maintenance costs.
Film capacitors also have a soft, open-circuit end of life as
opposed to electrolytics, which can explode or burn. This
feature significantly increases the overall safety and lifetime
of wind turbines, as exploding capacitors can threaten other
components or even start a fire.
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