High Specific Energy Lithium-Ion Battery with Carbon-Based Nanostructures

Navy STTR 21.B - Topic N21B-T023
NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command
Opens: May 19, 2021 - Closes: June 17, 2021 (12:00pm edt)

N21B-T023 TITLE: High Specific Energy Lithium-Ion Battery with Carbon-Based Nanostructures

RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements (GWR);Microelectronics;Quantum Science


OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate a novel high-energy (> 600 Whr/kg) rechargeable lithium-ion battery technology to provide high-quality enduring power for Navy hand-held portable electronics and small unmanned aerial system (UAS) applications.

DESCRIPTION: Rechargeable Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries [Ref 1] are widely used for a wide variety of commercial and naval electronics and electrical applications. The weight of the naval power battery system can be a significant portion of the overall weight of the portable electrical device on board a ground or aerial vehicle. Furthermore, the energy capacity of existing Li-ion batteries is not adequate to support prolonged operating times of current and future naval platforms, such as unmanned aerial systems (UASs) and portable communication and surveillance systems, for extended mission endurance. Moreover, the current batteries necessitate frequent recharging and the times for full recharging are in the range of hours.

In order to increase the energy capacity, reduce the weight, and shorten the recharging time of next-generation rechargeable batteries for future naval missions, high-performance rechargeable batteries with higher specific energy and much shorter recharging cycle times are needed. Current state-of-the art Li-ion batteries use graphite as an anode. Research has shown that the use of carbon-based nanomaterials, such as graphene, carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, etc., as potential anode materials for Li-ion batteries enhancements to replace graphite, shows great promise in providing high-galvanometric capacity while also maintaining reasonable cycling stability [Refs 2, 3].

The objective of this STTR topic is to develop and demonstrate a novel rechargeable Li-ion battery enhanced by using carbon-based nanostructures with a specific energy > 600 Whr/kg at 0.5C discharge rate, and specific capacity of > 600 Ahr/kg. The battery is also expected to exhibit an excellent cycle stability and maintain 85% capacity after 1000 cycles and operate over a wide temperature range of -30C to +55C. The high-energy cell should have the ability to operate up to a 3C continuous discharge rate at the stated operational conditions, as well as to be stored over a wide temperature range (-40C to +70C). Proposed innovative approaches may include improvements to cell components, novel materials or processes, or other innovative ideas.

PHASE I: Develop, design, and demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative Li-ion battery using the most promising carbon-based nanomaterials as the anode material. Perform analysis and initial testing to determine the ability of the proposed battery with the chosen anode, cathode, and electrolyte material combination in terms of the performance metrics, including specific energy, specific capacity, reliable charge/discharge capabilities, and cycle life as stated in the Description. Project the overall performance improvements of the proposed battery configuration to be fabricated in Phase II compared to a common lithium ion battery. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

PHASE II: Fabricate and demonstrate a complete cell, based on the down-selected design in Phase I. Demonstrate and validate the performance of the novel Li-ion battery to meet stated design metrics listed in the Description. Perform laboratory testing to confirm performance. Assess the risks associated with the storage and operation of the battery and propose viable risk mitigation solutions. Deliver a prototype to NAVAIR for further field testing and evaluation.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Fully develop and transition the Lithium ion Battery based on the final design from Phase II for naval applications in various UAV platforms.

The commercial sectors such as electrical vehicles and other commercial electronic devices, would significantly benefit from this research and development in high-performance, lightweight batteries.


  1. Liu, S. F., Wang, X. L., Xie, D., Xia, X. H., Gu, C. D., Wu, J. B. and Tu, J. P. "Recent development in lithium metal anodes of liquid-state rechargeable batteries." Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 730, January 5, 2018, pp. 135-149. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jallcom.2017.09.204
  2. Uddin, M. J., Alaboina, P. K. and Cho, S. J. "Nanostructured cathode materials synthesis for lithium-ion batteries." Materials Today Energy, 5, September 2017, pp. 138-157. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtener.2017.06.008
  3. Manthiram, A., Song, B. and Li, W. "A perspective on nickel-rich layered oxide cathodes for lithium-ion batteries." Energy Storage Materials, 6, 2017, pp. 125-139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ensm.2016.10.007

KEYWORDS: Specific-Energy; Lithium-Ion; Li-ion; Battery; Carbon-Based Nanostructures; Graphene; Carbon nano-tubes

TPOC-1: KK Law

Phone: (760) 608-3370


TPOC-2: Chandraika (John) Sugrim 

Phone: (904) 460-4494


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the overall DoD 21.B STTR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at rt.cto.mil/rtl-small-business-resources/sbir-sttr/ for any updates.

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