Traditionally, rechargeable batteries have been used as energy dense products and the other devices based on capacitors have been used as power dense products. There are more-power-dense versions of the favourite rechargeable batteries - lithium-ion with 70% or so of the rechargeable battery market in 2023. Unfortunately, power dense rechargeable batteries surrender a lot of energy density. It is therefore helpful that more and more energy dense supercapacitors and variants are becoming available, some even matching lead acid batteries and yet retaining excellent power density. This convergence of properties has led to the widespread combination of the two in parallel, particularly in power applications. Battery/supercapacitor combinations approach the performance of an ideal battery - something that can never be achieved with a battery alone because its chemical reactions cause movement, swelling and eventually irreversability. In some cases, things have gone further. For example, hybrid buses using supercapacitors now rarely use them across the traction battery - the supercapacitor replaces the battery, the only battery remaining in the vehicle being a small lead-acid starter battery.
Many more supercapacitor variants are now available. There is now almost a continuum of devices between conventional electrolytic capacitors and rechargeable batteries as we explain in the report. The analysis of 80 manufacturers and putative manufacturers reveals, for example, how battery manufacturers and conventional capacitor manufacturers are entering the business of devices intermediate between the two. However, rather surprisingly, most of the intermediate devices are developed and manufactured by companies not in either conventional capacitors or batteries. Although we use the term intermediate devices, some have some properties superior to both conventional capacitors and rechargeable batteries.
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