Ultracapacitors as Energy Buffers in a Multiple Zone Electrical Distribution System

A multiple zone electrical distribution system architecture augmented with local energy buffers is one method of addressing the need for redundancy that safety critical and security systems require. New introductions of x-by-wire functionality, idle-stop power trains, and electrified engine functions such as electro-mechanical engine valve actuation also benefit from modular and distributed local energy buffering offered by ultracapacitors. Ultracapacitors are non-Faradic surface effect storage devices that offer pulse power and power cycling capability far in excess of Faradic, bulk storage, electrochemical cells. Power management for safety critical systems such as steer, brake and drive by wire benefit from distributed energy modules that are positioned locally, are lower in mass, and are more energetic than batteries. Ultracapacitors have already found application in the propulsion system of conventional gasoline and diesel hybrid as well as fuel cell hybrid vehicles. The reason for the acceptance of ultracapacitors in vehicle propulsion systems is their high pulse power capability, fast transient response, and high efficiency during discharge and re-charging plus full charge cycling in excess of 100k cycles. The ultracapacitor is now proven to be an able augmentation to hybrid power trains as an electrical peaking unit. In this paper the application of ultracapacitors as distributed energy storage buffers in the vehicles electrical system is investigated.

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