Monday, April 04, 2022

The Air District is announcing the award of a loan guarantee to UCAP Power, a provider of ultracapacitor systems that offer reliable, cost-effective high-power energy storage, to support clean energy in the region. 

Spare the Air Status

Their POWERBLoK ultracapacitor product stores energy and can replace current battery technologies, which can contain hazardous material and rare earth metals, in applications requiring dependable high power like wind turbines, generators, and microgrids. The ultracapacitors have performance characteristics similar to batteries, but offer advantages including fast charge/discharge capacity, low-temperature performance, and comparatively longer useful lifetimes.

This loan guarantee is the most recent project under the Air District’s Climate Tech Finance program. In partnership with the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank and the Northern California Financial Development Corporation, the Climate Tech Finance team led a technology qualification, social equity impact and greenhouse gas analysis that deemed UCAP Power eligible for a multimillion-dollar loan guarantee. This loan guarantee supported UCAP Power in securing a line of credit with East West Bank.

UCAP Power’s POWERBLoKs are a safer and more sustainable alternative to traditional battery technologies. POWERBloKs can reduce the need to rely on technologies like lead acid batteries and are made from activated carbon derived from coconut shells. Unlike traditional batteries, whose recycling can pose hazards due to the process involved, recycling POWERBLoKs is based on shredding and mild thermal treatment. POWERBLoKs are drop-in retrofit units that significantly reduce money and labor involved in battery storage replacement. The typical life span of POWERBLoKs is 10-20 years, compared to 5 years for lead acid batteries. This technology is predicted to displace 4M lead-acid batteries in 40,000 wind turbines in the United States.

The core value of Climate Tech Finance is to support innovative climate projects and the Air District’s greenhouse gas analysis ensures that new technologies will reduce short- and long-term greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Tech Finance loan guarantee provides a credit enhancement that supports UCAP Power’s production of POWERBLoKs to fulfill purchase orders and to expand into additional markets. UCAP Power’s projects are estimated to reduce 680 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year in California by increasing the amount of wind turbine uptime and, therefore, zero-emission electricity production.

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Last Updated: 4/4/2022