Efficient Supercapacitator Charging Technique by a Hysteretic Charging Scheme

Tech ID: 25030 / UC Case 2015-140-0

Brief Description

The technology is a hysteretic charging technique for efficient supercapacitor charging using low ambient power sources.With this technology user may extend the upper bound on the capacitance of supercapacitors.The technology features hysteretic control, a two stage supercapacitor system.Additionally, the technology features a pulse-frequency modulation (PFM) dc-dc boost converter.

Full Description

UCI researchers have invented a hysteretic charging scheme, which helps extend the upper bound of the capacitance of supercapacitors. It achieves efficient charging operations through hysteretic control, optimal window size, and two stage supercapacitors composition by equipping with a pulse-frequency modulation (PFM) dc-dc boost converter.

Unlike in typical boost dc-dc converters, the present invention utilizes a two-step combination of a smaller charging mode supercapacitor and a large reservoir supercapacitor. In order to overcome the high rate of self-discharge or leakage of the reservoir supercapacitors during charging, the smaller hysteretic charging-mode supercapacitor accumulates energy from the low-power ambient source and then rapidly releases the accumulated energy to the reservoir supercapacitors within the hysteresis window of where charging is still efficient. The released current through the dc-dc converter can offset the leakage current of the reservoir supercapacitor. When the charging current is equal to the leakage current, the charger cannot charge the reservoir supercapacitor anymore, which can be called the boundary of leakage offset current. The charging efficiency can be maximized using pulse frequency modulation (PFM) mode of the dc-dc converter and a hysteretic window of 50mV.

While supercapacitors excel in situations requiring rapid charging or discharging, they are not yet a suitable replacement for conventional rechargeable batteries due to their comparatively high rate of self-discharge or leakage. The self-discharge (leakage) rate of supercapacitors increases rapidly near their rated voltage and can be easily similar to or exceed a charging current. Due to this, it is very difficult to charge supercapacitors under low power conditions. In order to charge the supercapacitor with low ambient power sources, the charging power should be larger than the leakage power. Therefore, power transfer efficiency of a power boost converter and the additional overhead of the control circuit are crucial factors to efficiently charge supercapacitors in low ambient energy power source conditions. UCI researchers have invented a charging scheme for supercapacitors that addresses these issues and extends the upper bound on the capacitance of supercapacitors using a hysteretic scheme.

Suggested uses

  • Supercapacitor charging under low ambient power conditions. Applicable to sensor nodes in harsh conditions where sunlight or wind power are unpredictable or unavailable.


  • Boosts charging efficiency of supercapacitor in ultra-low power circuit 
  • Improves leakage current of supercapacitor

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Published Application 20170117730 04/27/2017 2015-140

Lead Inventor

Pai H. Chou
Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Henry Samueli School of Engineering
University of California, Irvine



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  • Chou, Pai H.
  • Kim, Sehwan

Other Information

Categorized As

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