Ultracapacitor-Based Storage Quickly Spreads in Energy Efficient Transportation

April has been a busy month for Oneonta, New York-based Ioxus, a maker of ultracapacitor energy storage systems that rapidly absorb and release high-voltage power in a burst of energy. Its devices can store power generated by solar and wind farms or be paired with batteries in electric vehicles to capture energy from braking.

Following the close of its $21 million Series-C funding round, with plans to expand its presence in China, the top market for ultracapacitors, the company announced that its energy storage systems are being fitted to the railway wayside traction power on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR.)

According to a release, Ioxus’ ultracapacitors will provide voltage support to assist the traction power system, capturing and storing the energy produced by the train, using it to facilitate better acceleration and allowing for greater energy efficiency and reduced energy consumption.  The decision was driven by a recommendation from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) following successful demonstrations that detailed how its ultracapacitors would help the LIRR reduce energy consumption by up to 30 percent and improve railway operations.

On Monday, Ioxus appointed a new VP of European Sales, with an eye toward growing the European customer base. The new hire, Wofram Kreuger, was previously with MAXWELL Technologies, a key competitor based in San Diego.

And, according to the Central New York News, Ioxus announced plans to open a second factory in New York State at some point this year.

Venture Funding

Ioxus closed its Series-C funding round at $21 million on April 7, which it started raising in 2013. The latest top-off was led by new investor, IFC InfraVentures, the investment arm of the World Bank, which contributed $5 million to the round. The new funding will enable the company to expand its sales and manufacturing presence in China, in which its ultracapitors will be utilized to develop energy efficient transportation, including enhancing the performance of hybrid-electric buses.

The company received $15 million in Series-C funding in July 2013, as we previously reported. That round was led by the The Westly Group with participation from Northwater Capital Management, Braemar Energy Ventures, Energy Technology Ventures (a joint venture of GE, NRG and ConocoPhillips), and Aster Capital. To date, Ioxus has raised $69 million in total funding.

A spin-off from 40-year-old Custom Electronics, Inc. in Oneonta, New York, Ioxus emerged as a standalone company in 2007. It produces 80 percent of what it manufactures at its Oneonta facility, and more than half of that for the Chinese market, according to Bloomberg.

Ultracapacitors are also being developed for use in hand held devices.  A research breakthrough in creating cost effective “micro supercapacitors” using graphene to replace batteries in cell phones and laptops was developed by UCLA professor Richard Kaner.  The research was published in the journal Nature in Feb 2013.

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