Capacitors, like batteries, temporarily store electric charges. They are used in many electronic devices, including components in electric and hybrid cars.
“If you’re familiar with what a battery is, you’re halfway there,” said Steven Yializis, COO at Sigma Technologies. “The difference though is ... with a battery, it takes a long time to charge and quite a bit of time to discharge. So, when you need a lot of energy quickly, a battery doesn’t have the ability to do that. ... you rely on a capacitor.”
The problem with current capacitors is they have shape, size and temperature limitations. Sigma is working to fix that problem, making a material that can replace the main component of capacitors.
“We propose a capacitor ... (that would) increase the temperature resistance," Yializis said. "You reduce the size, the weight and also have a lot of flexible form factors.”
He said he hopes Sigma can change the design and capabilities of capacitors, fixing what is currently a major weak spot for hybrid and electric vehicles.
The grant money will allow the company to experiment and make prototypes of a new generation of capacitors that could make low-emission and zero-emission vehicles more reliable.