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Development of Large Format Rapid Charge and Discharge Batteries for Underwater Warfare Applications


OBJECTIVE: To conduct research of cell materials for the development of a large format, high-energy, rapid charge and discharge battery that is safe and reliable for underwater warfare applications. DESCRIPTION: Batteries have become an essential component of a multitude of military and civilian applications. Batteries are generally designed for a specific component such as high energy density, high power, cycle life, calendar life, extreme temperature range etc. For most batteries that excel at specific component it does this as a trade off to other components. This solicitation"s goal is to seek a battery that can successfully contain capacitor like power with battery like energy. Successful completion of this topic will result in the development of a large format battery which will reduce mission turn-around time, increase Operational Availability and reduce total ownership costs to the Dry Combat Submersible program. In addition, a successful effort will yield benefits to a wide variety of military programs included the Electromagnet Rail Gun (EMRG), Large Scale Vehicles (LSV), and multiple Air and Ground Vehicles. One key component that needs improvement is the charge/discharge rates. The Navy currently lacks the capability to quickly turnaround and redeploy a manned underwater vehicle by quickly recharging the battery. A battery technology that can reduce the charging time from hours to minutes while also providing good energy density and calendar life, under normal operational temperature ranges is desired. The battery should also have the ability to use high discharge rates when the situation is needed without greatly reducing the energy content of the battery. Specifically, this solicitation requests the following characteristics for a battery that can be made modularly as needed from 1kWh to 1000"s of kWh in size.>100C rate for both charge and discharge>100 Wh/kg at 100C>200 Wh/l at 100C>50 cycles at 100% depth of discharge Capable of operating in temperatures from -2 degrees C to 45 degrees C. Capable of being stored in temperatures from -20 degrees C to 50 degrees C.>4 year shelf life PHASE I: Provide an initial research and development effort that demonstrates innovative scientific and technical competency of the proposed high rate charge/discharge battery. The small business"s role is to transition cell level material enhancements into viable cells. Conduct the preliminary testing to understand the fundamental properties of materials in the cell and begin to transition the technology from the lab to the commercial market. The research institution should focus on material research to enhance the fundamental properties of a cells ability to transfer electrons quickly at high rates during both charge and discharge. A combination of material enhancements (cathode, anode, electrolyte etc.) may be necessary to achieve the goals of this solicitation. The research institution and small business should work closely together to best evaluate the technology developments, plan future research and continue to improve performance of the materials and cells. The key technology features should be demonstrated with small scale cells at a minimum of 2Ah (1C rate). The key parameters of this solicitation should be benchmarked (charge/discharge rate, energy density, specific energy, temperature, voltage, cycles, shelf life, etc.) and any major deficiency should have a plan remedy. Any additional safety concerns should be addressed, on both the small-scale and predicted large-scale Phase II plan. PHASE II: Fabrication of large format, high energy, and high rate cells should be conducted and characterized. The small business and research institution should continue to evaluate the material enhancements of the cells and determine if the properties at small scale directly translate to larger scale. Continued research may be essential for the optimization of materials for both production and desired property adjustments. Initial tests should be conducted to validate performance and safety of the cells. Cells produced can be of any form factor but not less than 20Ah (1C rate), for evaluation. Cell geometry may include jelly roll, prismatic, pouch cell or other designs. Evaluation of these cells will be performed including validation of capacity, cycle life, thermal behavior and stability of operation at temperatures up to 50 degrees C. A variety of abusive conditions in accordance with NAVSEAINST S9310-AQ-SAF-010 (or similar document depending on the battery type) should be conducted on the cells for the evaluation of safety. PHASE III: Finalize development and transition technology to large scale production for Naval Underwater Warfare applications and other Navy, DoD or commercial products. PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: The successful development of a large format, high energy, rapid charge and discharge battery will be very beneficial to the private sector. One key area in which this kind of technology would excel is electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles industry. The ability to rapidly recharge the battery would allow for civilians to quickly recharge an empty battery providing the ability to drive longer distances then is currently accessible. Other possible commercial products include replacing the lead acid starter batteries for vehicles, increased power of electric hand tools, and replacement of capacitors in some applications. In addition to the increased mission capability for manned and unmanned underwater vehicles, the reduced battery recharge time while simultaneously increase the speed and pulse power applications would also be beneficial to multiple program offices including the electromagnetic rail gun (EMRG) program, Air and Ground Vehicles
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