Ultracapacitors are the hyperactive version of energy storage — they have ultra-fast charge and discharge times, but lag behind batteries in terms of the amount of energy they can store. Because of their unique characteristics, entrepreneurs and investors have seen them as an area of breakthrough innovation — see EEStor, and Graphene Energy. And here’s another outta Seoul, South Korea: this morning ultracapacitor maker Nesscap says it has raised a bridge round of $9 million in financing, led by London-based venture capital firm I2BF Venture Capital.
Nesscap, founded back in 2001, says its ultracapacitors can deliver 10 times more power and last 10 times longer than standard batteries, and can store more energy than other commercially available ultracapacitors. The startup is targeting energy storage for consumer electronics, renewable energy on the power grid, and vehicles and sells ultracapacitor in both cells and modules that vary in size and power.
Nesscap was founded by Korean entrepreneur and former research director of the Darwoo Group, Sun-wook Kim, according to an IEEE Magazine article. The company received a grant back in 2005 from the USABC (United States Advanced Battery Consortium) for a $4.5 million ultracapacitor project for the USCAR (United States Council for Automotice Research). Over the years, Nesscap became mired in a patent dispute with one of its biggest competitors San Diego, Calif.’s Maxwell Technologies, but that issue seems to have been resolved.
Ultracapacitors store their charge in polarized layers of an electrode, which is immersed in a electrolyte. Ultracapacitor startups are working on tweaking the materials and makeup of the layers, as well as the electrolyte itself. NessCap, like most of the big ultracapacitor players, uses carbon-coated layers, and is working on bringing down the cost of the carbon as well as boosting its energy storage capacity. Graphene Energy, on the other hand, is using graphene for the layers, because electricity can flow through sheets of graphene very quickly without scattering, and also is experimenting with electrolytes that can help increase storage capacity.
Nesscap says it plans to use the new funds for “expansion of its manufacturing and production capabilities as well as for working capital and general corporate purposes.”