Energy storage unit combines truck battery, ultracaps

August 05, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Dead batteries in trucks are always a nuisance. In low temperatures long-haul drivers often leave the engine idling for long periods of time just to make sure that the battery is charged. Start failures also occur when trucks are not used for periods of time or when lifting systems consume too much energy from the battery. A novel energy storage unit from Skeleton Technologies promises to eliminate the problem.

Skeleton Technologies has developed a 24V Engine Start Module (SkelStart ESM), which uses high-performance ultracapacitor technology to ensure engine start at any time, in any conditions. The module fits with European vehicles and can easily be fitted in to the D02 box types commonly used by battery manufacturers.

Ultracps are highly efficient and able to provide much higher currents of power than lead acid batteries. They can also charge and discharge millions of times, offering lifetimes up to 500 times longer than batteries. Crucially for drivers in colder climates, the technology can operate in temperatures as low as -65 °C. With the SkelStart ESM, the ultracapacitors, not the batteries, provide the power required to start the truck engine. The batteries are then only required to provide low power loads once the engine is up and running. This effectively eradicates the problem of an engine not starting due to cold, depletion or periods of inactivity, the company promises.

According to the vendor, the unit delivers fuel savings, up to 50% extended battery life, faster cranking, reliable starting, well-rested drivers and reduced pollution.

Ultracapacitors are already used in a range of applications including regenerative braking in hybrid buses and trucks, cold starting of diesel engines for trucks and trains, and backup power for industrial machinery.

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