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   12th Jan 09

Maxwell ultracapacitor to provide burst power to start cold diesel engines in buses

Vanner Inc., a manufacturer of electrical power conversion products, has selected Maxwell Technologies BOOSTCAP ultracapacitor modules to provide burst power for a retrofit diesel engine starter system that Vanner has won a contract to install in Chicago transit buses.

David Schramm, Maxwell's president and chief executive officer, said that Vanner is purchasing 460 16-volt BMOD0500 modules through Maxwell's channel partner, Tecate Industries. Each ultracapacitor module incorporates six 3,000-farad BOOSTCAP cells to provide the power required for Vanner's StartSentry system.

During the winter months, when temperatures fall below freezing, vehicle batteries tend to lose voltage, which reduces their cranking power and frequently requires that buses be started with an external jump start.

"If it's below 25 degrees, buses stored outside must be started and the engines allowed to run for up to an hour to ensure proper operation," said CTA President Ron Huberman. "By retrofitting our buses with these devices, CTA will be able to reduce the amount of time buses idle, lower emissions and noise for our neighbors, as well as improve fuel efficiency by 30 percent during the winter months."

Vanner's ultracapacitor-based StartSentry starting system is designed to hold a charge of energy so that the ultracapacitor can aid in the starting of the vehicle. As the ultracapacitor provides the bulk of the power when the vehicle is started, the life of the battery and starter is increased. If the battery voltage is too low for the vehicle to be started, the ultracapacitor module will act as a "defibrillator" to provide an on-board jump start. Unlike batteries, which generate and store energy through an electrochemical process, ultracapacitors store energy electrostatically, enabling them to deliver full power output at extreme temperatures down to 40 degrees below zero.

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