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Dr. Kimberly McGrath

Overcoming grid power failure: Using ultracapacitors for reliable genset starting

Dr. Kimberly McGrath
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4/26/2017 12:20:58 PM
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Another Solution
There is another old technique for emergency generator engine starting power used by the military - pneumatic.  Compressed air powered starting motors are readily available.  All that's needed is an AC powered air compressor and tank to store the starting energy.  Even in daily use these compressors and tanks last decades.  Monthly startup to ensure everything is functioning should ensure high reliability for decades.

Lead acid batteries require maintenance and have limited life.  NiCads exhibit memory effects when trickle charged and are often unable to do the job when called.  Supercaps, especially the large ones are very expensive and haven't yet proven their long term reliability.  Air compressors are reliable and cheap enough for redundancy.  If one gets truly desperate, compressed air is readily available from large trucks with their air brakes and air suspensions.

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