Long Life, Highly Efficient Electrical Energy Storage for Sensor Systems
Navy SBIR 2015.1 - Topic N151-048
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - [email protected]
Opens: January 15, 2015 - Closes: February 25, 2015 6:00am ET

N151-048 TITLE: Long Life, Highly Efficient Electrical Energy Storage for Sensor Systems

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Ground/Sea Vehicles


OBJECTIVE: Develop a battery or other energy storage system that achieves long life and low power secondary (rechargeable) operation at low cost to provide power for wireless sensors in a shipboard environment.

DESCRIPTION: Wireless technology is being integrated into shipboard sensor systems to significantly reduce installation cost. Currently, sensor systems either pull power from the platform�s main electrical bus, or else require their own battery. The application of shipboard wireless technology, however, is currently limited to those sensor systems with low data rate and low duty cycle requirements. The power demands of high data rate and high duty cycle sensor systems will quickly deplete the power in currently available batteries, which have limited cycle life and lower energy density than is required for small distributed sensor systems. For example, high density laptop, phone and automotive batteries have a finite number of charge-discharge cycles over a limited number of years (ref 1,2), while the best Lithium (Li)-ion batteries are limited to an energy density of ~800 Watt-hours per liter (Wh/L) (ref 3). To achieve density requirements, autonomous sensors have typically required use of a primary (i.e., non-rechargeable) battery in order to achieve sufficient runtime and size to be practical, which is not feasible in terms of accessibility and maintainability in a submarine environment.

To overcome this challenge, high density rechargeable storage (e.g. secondary batteries or other devices) are necessary which can support the sensor system operation and be sustained by intermittent power from an energy harvesting or other electrical system. This topic will complement an energy harvesting system for a sensor, as well as an advanced wireless sensing suite. An advanced, high density rechargeable device will allow the system to operate without power, thus reducing cost and increasing capability due to lower required maintenance (than when installed with conventional batteries) and decreased energy use. By being wireless and not requiring outside power, mission capability can be increased by allowing more utilization of sensing systems in more locations where before it was impractical.

This topic seeks to develop an innovative battery or other energy storage system technology that will enable high data rate and high duty cycle wireless sensor systems for shipboard applications to become feasible. The battery or energy storage system should demonstrate energy density and cycle ability at nominal rates. The performance characteristics of the device should be defined, and design configuration developed to analyze all possible failure mechanisms. Reliability should be estimated based on the performance of the electrical and mechanical subsystems. The technology proposed must be suitable for shipboard applications, given the safety requirements for shipboard energy storage. Included in the overall approach should be an attempt to minimize volatile and flammable electrolytes, as well as materials that have low thresholds for energetic release. An ionic approach (i.e., no metal) is preferable. Intrinsic safety should be emphasized to the greatest extent possible. In the case of damage, the technology will not release toxic, flammable or other hazardous materials. In the case of an overheating or thermal event in one cell, it is desirable that the energy released will not cause propagation of failure into a neighboring cell; validation of this must be able to be demonstrated by testing as defined in Navy Technical Manual S9310-AQ-SAF-010 for Batteries.

The requirements guidelines for the battery or energy storage system are:
� Voltage: 2 - 5 Volts
� Maximum instantaneous output power: 3 watts. Nominal output power: 100 miliwatts. Cell format: "D" cells or smaller is preferred, however if a suitable case can be made for other non-cylindrical geometries to ensure efficient packing density, they may be considered.
� Gravimetric Energy Density: >500Wh/kg
� Volumetric Energy Density: >1500Wh/L
� Rechargeable - maximum input power: 1 watt. Retains >60% of capacity after 300 full charge/discharge cycles.
� Must meet requirements for shipboard use (e.g. operate in a rugged environment)

PHASE I: The company will define and develop a concept for producing a rechargeable, long endurance storage device that meets the requirements as stated in the topic description. The company will demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting Navy needs and will establish that the concept can be developed into a useful product for the Navy. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling. The final concept design should demonstrate energy density and cycle ability at nominal rates.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I, the small business will develop a full-scale prototype for installation into a wireless sensor system for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability to meet the performance goals and Navy requirements for a rechargeable device with high density. The performance of the device will be demonstrated through prototype laboratory and shipboard testing over the required range of parameters including numerous deployment cycles. The full scale prototype will be evaluated for safety as requisite for allowing operation shipboard. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into a design that will meet Navy requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Navy use.

PHASE III: The company will be expected to support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. The company will develop a rechargeable device according to the Phase III development plan for evaluation to determine its effectiveness in an operationally relevant environment. Perform safety testing and fabricate any required safety containment or structure to enable qualification and long-term use. The company will support the Navy for test and validation to certify and qualify the battery for Navy use.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Development and production of a long endurance, low power output, low cost device can be used by the private sector to make a number of potential commercial wireless sensor systems feasible without the use of primary batteries or tether to a constant power source.

1. "Test of Li-ion battery for self-heating & lifetime Evaluation" US-China Electric Vehicle and Battery Technology Workshop. Web. 07 Oct. 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.transportation.anl.gov/batteries/us_china_conference/docs/battery testing roundtable/Test_of_battery_tsinghua.pdf

2. Schindall, Joel. "The Charge of the Ultra - Capacitors." IEEE Spectrum. IEEE, Nov. 2007. Web. 07 May 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/nov07/5636

3. "Green Car Congress: Panasonic Develops New Higher-Capacity 18650 Li-Ion Cells; Application of Silicon-based Alloy in Anode." Green Car Congress, 25 Dec. 2009. Web. 07 May 2013. Retrived from: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/12/panasonic-20091225.html

5. Liu, X., Wang, J., Zhang, J., & Yang, S. (2007). Sol�gel template synthesis of LiV3O8 nanowires. Journal of materials science, 42(3), 867-871.

KEYWORDS: Secondary Ionic battery; energy density; cycle life; intrinsic safety; volumetric capacity; battery cycle efficiency

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