Some time in the not-very-distant future you will pick up
your cordless drill and start drilling away – with more power than you ever
thought possible. And it will keep on drilling for much longer than you thought
A hybrid test car on a test track in England, powered by the CSIRO-developed UltraBattery - a combination of an ultracapacitor and lead-acid battery. Photo courtesy Advanced Lead-Acid Battery Consortium.
The drill will look and feel the same as current cordless
drills but it will have one major difference: it won’t contain a battery.
Instead, it will get its power from a capacitor.
Needless to say, it won’t be a "normal" capacitor. In fact,
it’s so abnormal it has a new name: an ultracapacitor (or sometimes a
supercapacitor). While the terms have been somewhat interchangeable, they’re
starting to be used more selectively, with ultracapacitors denoting the larger
Already (at least in the US) there are rechargeable tools on
the market which use ultracapacitors instead of batteries, such as the Coleman
Flash Cell Screwdriver and the Superior Tool Co Ultracut Cordless Tube
And without realising it, you may well be using one already:
many computers these days use an ultracapacitor, or at least a supercapacitor,
in place of the batteries once used for CMOS backup. They’re also found in many
other devices doing the same task – video recorders and even digital alarm
clocks, for example.