Title page for ETD etd-11162006-151143

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Atcitty, Stanley
Author's Email Address satcitt@sandia.gov
URN etd-11162006-151143
Title Electrochemical Capacitor Characterization for Electric Utility Applications
Degree PhD
Department Electrical and Computer Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Liu, Yilu Committee Chair
Centeno, Virgilio A. Committee Member
Conners, Richard W. Committee Member
Lin, Tao Committee Member
Wang, Fei Fred Committee Member
  • supercaps
  • ultracaps
  • electric utility
  • porous electrode
  • electrochemical capacitors
Date of Defense 2006-11-16
Availability unrestricted
Electrochemical capacitors (ECs) have received a significant level of interest for use in the electric utility industry for a variety of potential applications. For example, ECs integrated with a power conversion system can be used to assist the electric utility by providing voltage support, power factor correction, active filtering, and reactive and active power support. A number of electric utility applications have been proposed but, to date, ECs have not been very well characterized for use in these applications. Consequently, there is a need to gain a better understanding of ECs when used in electric utility applications. ECs are attractive for utility applications because they have higher energy density than conventional capacitors and higher power density than batteries. ECs also have higher cycle life than batteries, which results in longer life spans. To better understand the system dynamics when ECs are used for utility applications requires suitable models that can be incorporated into the variety of software programs currently used to create dynamic simulations for the applications, programs such as PSPICE™, MATLAB Simulink™, and PSCAD™. To obtain a relevant simulation with predictive capability, the behavior of the EC on which the model is based must be well defined; this necessitates a thorough understanding of the electrical characteristics of these devices.

This paper and the associated research focus on the use of the electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) to develop nonlinear equivalent circuit models to better understand and characterize symmetric ECs (SECs) for electric utility applications. It also focuses on the development of analytical solutions to better understand SEC efficiency and energy utilization.

Representative static synchronous compensator (StatCom) systems, with and with out SECs, were simulated and discussed. The temperature effects on device ionic resistance and capacitance are covered as is the effect of temperature on maximum power transfer to a resistive load. Experimental data showed that the SEC's double-layer capacitance and ionic resistance are voltage dependent. Therefore a voltage-dependent RC network model was developed and validated and the results showed that this type of model mimicked the experimental SEC better than traditional electrical models. Analytical solutions were developed for the efficiency and energy utilization of an SEC. The analytical solutions are a function of operating voltages, constant current, and ionic resistance. The operating voltage method is an important factor in system design because the power conversion interface is typically limited by a voltage window and thus can determine the performance of SECs during charge and discharge. If the operating voltage window is not properly selected the current rating of the system can be reduced thus limiting the SECs performance.

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