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Hybrid batteries tease big energy capacity while charging in seconds

Ben Bowers, @@benbowersgp
November 14, 2010
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Ioxus Inc. is an up and comer in the energy storage industry that has plans this Monday to announce a new hybrid storage device that it hopes will radically alter batteries used in the auto, medical, and consumer electronics industries. The teased product is said to be roughly the size of a typical C-cell battery and combines the fast charge / discharge benefits of ultracapacitors with the impressive energy-to-weight ratio of a lithium-ion electrode. As a result, Ioxus says the hybrid devices can store more than double the energy of traditional ultracapacitors and charge in a matter of seconds. The catch is that the hybrids have shorter life spans of 20,000 cycles compared to millions of cycles for typical ultracapacitors. We're also taking this with a grain of skepticism until these claims are proven in the field. Some brief digging though did unearth an article written by MIT researchers and published in Scientific American last year that discusses the possible benefits of supercharging lithium-ion cells -- which is encouraging.

The first iteration could be used to power a host of devices like off-the-grid lighting or power tools. Use in larger systems like the regenerative breaks of electric cars however won't be possible until the second generation arrives -- which the CEO pegged as sometime in the first quarter of next year.



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