Rechargeable batteries lose their ability to hold charge with time and use, but have been the only option for electronics that demand a constant voltage. Now, a new ultracapacitor design from the American Institute of Physics maintains nearly constant voltages without use of highly-problematic and previously-necessary DC-DC converters. The new ultracapacitor has an electromechanical system that lifts the device’s charge-storing core out of an electrolyte solution as charge is released, lowering the device’s functional capacitance. Because the voltage in capacitors is dictated by the ratio of stored charge to capacitance, the system maintains a steady voltage as charge is siphoned off. The capacitors are “programmable” to maintain any voltage, within a .3 V range and testing has shown that the constant-voltage mechanism operates with a 99% efficiency or higher. The projected lifespan of the capacitor is roughly 1 million charge cycles or up to 15 years of use.
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