What Is An Ultracapacitor?: Are Ultracapacitors Poised To Replace Rechargable Batteries?

Every electronic device has at least one thing in common, they all require electricity. Until recently on the consumer level this meant using batteries, but recently new kinds of power storage devices called ultracapacitors have started to make their way into common everyday electronic devices.

What are ultracapacitors? Many people believe them to be the power source of the future for our growing supply of mobile electronics.

What Is An Ultracapacitor?

The first thing that one must know about what is an ultracapacitor is is what it is not. Isidor Buchman, an authority on batteries and ultracapacitor technology explains the details of what ultracapacitors are on his Battery University site, but in general it should be understood that ultracapacitors are not batteries, at least not in the traditional sense of the word.

Batteries to this point have stored electricity chemically inside an enclosed cell. The chemicals inside the battery break down over time and no longer hold a charge. In an ultracapacitor electricity is stored between two charged plates and unlike batteries that electricity can be discharged all at once instead of trickling out a little at a time.

This is most evident in the now commonplace automatic defibrilators that are seen in public places to help revive a person whose heart has stopped. The ultracapacitor inside the device discharges rapidly, allowing the lifesaving electrical shock to be delivered to the patient.


Another similar application lies in such common objects as photography flash units. Robert Tressler of Maxwell Technologies points out many more devices and consumer electronics applications for ultracapacitors that may become more prevalent as the technology continues to improve.

Electric Cars Powered By Ultracapacitors

One of the more exciting and potentially world changing applications of this technology lies in the potential benefits of using ultracapacitors in such things as electric cars. One of the most problematic aspects of traditional battery powered electric cars is the infrastructure and time needed to recharge them. Since an ultracapacitor can charge in as little as 90 seconds the idea of pulling up to a filling station and recharging within a few minutes will potentially be a reality in a few years time.

Another benefit of the ultracapacitor is its almost unlimited recharge life. Unlike batteries that eventually have to be replaced ultracapacitors can be recharged over 50,000 times. This means that an ultracapacitor powered car could be recharged every day for over one hundred years before the ultracapacitors would wear out. That having been said, there are still a number of challenges that have to be addressed before this grand vision can come to pass.

Drawbacks To Ultracapacitors

Ultracapacitors have a major drawback that has kept them out of most consumer products, they cannot hold large amounts of power. Recent advances have increased their capacity but to date the most advanced consumer devices using ultracapacitors are devices like flashlights and cordless drills. Because the cannot hold large amounts of power it is necessary to recharge them more often, but with such quick recharge times this is not a significant issue.

The most pressing issue at this point appears to be that of passive discharge. Unlike common rechargeable batteries that leak only about 10% of their energy over a month in storage an ultracapacitor will lose roughly half of its energy. Again, this may not be a significant issue considering the fact that it can be recharged to it’s full power state in a few minutes, but the loss of so much energy is a concern that still needs to be addressed.

Will Ultracapacitors one day replace rechargeable batteries in all of our common everyday devices? That remains to be seen, but one can suspect that they will definitely have a significant place in future technologies. If the problems are able to be addressed, ultracapacitors could one day be as commonplace as nickle based rechargeable batteries are today.

Take the Plunge: 4 Reasons Why Taking Cold Showers is the Best Lifehack Ever

We’ve all been there at some point in our lives; facing an ice cold stream of water coming out of the shower head.  Whether you’re in that position because you want to cool off or because you’re out of hot water, you’ve been there, and for lack of a better description, it’s a cold, cold reality.

But have you ever thought about how you felt after that shower?  Maybe you feel refreshed, or you’re frantically tryng to warm up because the cold shower was out of necessity, not comfort.  Have you ever paid attention to your overall level of productivity after it?  If you did, you’d realize that it is heightened and you are far more alert for a prolonged period of time.

Hot showers in the morning may feel great but they have little physiological effect on improving performance and mental acuity and that’s not what we’re about.  Lifehacking is about finding ways to get the most out of you, your daily activites and rituals, and your body without all the extra work, and that is why an ice cold shower is the best lifehack of all.

  1.  Staring that cold stream of water in the face is an intense challenge and an opportunity to start the day off by pushing yourself.

As previously stated, yes that hot water streaming onto your body feels great, but that makes you comfortable, and feeling comfort does not challenge you.  Think about those moments before you take the plunge and dive under that cold stream of water…..

You get yourself amped up, you challenge yourself, maybe you count down from 3…2…1 (like I do) and that is a challenge.  It’s a great precursor to the rest of your day.  It sets the tone and your mindset for the rest of the day.  You literally began your day by challenging yourself and winning, while your competition sat under a warm, comforting stream of water.

And it gets better as that cold shower has further lasting effects….

  1.  It instantly connects every nerve in your body like nothing else can.

Now think about that first moment you dive under that cold water….

It instantly takes your breath and awakens you in a way nothing else can.  You could be on no sleep for over a day, barely conscious, and the moment you jump into an ice cold shower your body is instantly more awake than it’s ever been.  If you think about it, this is very powerful.  It is a reminder that at any moment’s notice, our bodies can instantly reignite and reinvigorate despite how tired or worn out we may feel.  This “awakening” is a result of every nerve in your body being shocked and reconnected and this has a prolonged effect leaving your body in an awakened and highly alert state for hours after the shower, thus making you a more productive and efficient person for hours after the shower.

  1.  It’s great for your waistline.

The definition of thermogenesis is the production of heat in a human body.  An increased production in heat also results in an increased metabolism of calories because your body is working harder internally.

A cold shower will cool down the body, which results in a greater level of thermogenesis in the body and subsequent, higher metabolism.  If you start the day off with a shower, you can guarantee your metabolism will be running at a higher level for the entire.

  1.  It dramatically reduces inflammation, which reduces pain and overall risk of disease.

I’m sure you’re probably well aware that adding cold to an injury reduces inflammation, thus improving rate of recovery and reducing pain from the injury.  However, we all have a certain amount of inflammation that is created in our bodies every single day from our diet, joint degradation, and physical exertion.

This inflammation can cause chronic pain, and over the last few years, many advancements in scientific research have found that chronic inflammation in the body is the leading cause to most diseases including neurological, cancers, and heart disease.

A cold shower is a great way to wipe out internal inflammation at the very beginning of the day.

A cold shower to start the day is the single best way to get the most out of your body and mind without changing anything about your day or adding more to your plate since that’s the last thing we all need.  If you’d like to learn some more “Lifehacks to Start Living Life on your own Terms”