Skeleton launches graphene-based ultracapacitor product for trucks

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The new device provides trucks with a short pulse of high-powered energy through a bank of graphene-based supercapacitors, which allows it to accelerate from a standstill efficiently. Photo: Flickr

Skeleton and Adgero, the truck product specialist, unveiled a new graphene-based ultracapacitor product for trucks yesterday, as it continues to lead the rest of the sector in launching commercial graphene-based products.

The device provides trucks with a short pulse of high-powered energy through a bank of graphene-based ultracapacitors, which allows the vehicle to accelerate from a standstill efficiently.

“The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver input in order to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost,” the firm said in a press release.

The companies said the technology had been through rigorous testing procedures including vibration, shock and immersion testing, and that road testing would begin in 2016 with Altrans, a French logistics company.

Skeleton and Adgero plan to ramp up production, with the objective of producing 8,000-10,000 units annually by 2020.

The technology is projected to reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions by 15-25 per cent, depending on terrain and traffic profile.

On the companies’ calculations, the device will pay for itself in as little as three years through reduced consumption alone. The product has also been designed to exceed the typical 10 year lifetime of the trailer itself.

Volker Dudek, CTO of Skeleton Technologies, said: “At Skeleton Technologies we pride ourselves on being a vertically integrated ultracapacitor manufacturer, from materials technology through to the system level.”

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Until now, the broader graphene sector has been held back by a number of technical difficulties, including challenges manufacturing the material on a commercial scale, with market analysts warning a large number of graphene start-ups will go out of business over the next 5 to 10 years.

In the face of these problems, Skeleton Technologies has stood out as one of the few companies that has actually successfully brought a number of products to market. Earlier this month the firm launched SkelStart ESM, an ultracapacitor device that helps trucks start after long periods of inactivity or in cold weather.

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