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Potential of supercapacitors in novel power converters as semi-ideal lossless voltage droppers

Electrical physics text book theory tells us that charging a capacitor is much less efficient than replenishing the energy in a discharged electro-chemical battery. If a fully discharged capacitor is pumped with a charge of Q coulombs, it stores 1/2QV while dissipating the same amount of energy in the loop resistance. However, if the same charge is pumped into a re-chargeable electrochemical cell of voltage V the energy stored in the cell is QV, while the wasted energy is determined by the loop resistance and the voltage difference across the resistance. If a rechargeable battery pack is to be replaced by a supercapacitor module, this difference could seriously affect the design of power converters required, since the power converter should stop charging at a certain point to avoid overcharging the capacitor bank. However, if a useful resistive load such as heater, DC-DC converter, inverter or a lamp load is used as a part of the loop resistance in a capacitor charging loop, a significant part of this loss can be recovered. One example of this is in the supercapacitor assisted low drop-out regulator (SCALDO) technique. This paper will detail the concept of circumvention of RC loop charging loss, theoretically quantifying the same in a generalized circuit, demonstrating how this can be applied in completely novel circuit topologies such as the supercapacitor assisted LED (SCALED) converter. The paper will provide experimental results of selected SCALDO implementations and early results of SCALED technique to support this theory.
Conference Contribution
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Ariyarathna, T., Jayananda, D., Kularatna, N., & Steyn-Ross, D. A. (2017). Potential of supercapacitors in novel power converters as semi-ideal lossless voltage droppers. In IECON 2017 - 43rd Annual Conference of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society (pp. 1429–1434). Washington, DC, USA: IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/IECON.2017.8216243
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