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High Rate High Energy Storage Devices


TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Ground/Sea Vehicles, Electronics


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this project is to develop new energy storage materials capable of absorbing and delivering large amounts of energy in short periods of time. Phase 1 will investigate the feasibility of various materials, study the ability to absorb energy at very high rates and also deliver large amounts of power to electrical loads. Furthermore, the feasibility studies would provide options for developing and prototyping classes of rechargeable energy storage materials that could be used in munitions power sources to provide the capability of multiple uses in a volumetric efficient format for high power delivery in small and lightweight packages that would meet all military requirements.

Progress has been made in the search for materials and devices that have both a very high power density as well as a very high energy density. Such devices effectively would combine the power density of a capacitor and the energy density of a battery to create the ultimate energy storage medium for portable electronics in general and gun fired munitions in particular. This technology could allow the dumping of a large amount of energy in very short time periods and would allow the simplification of munition power sources from a combination of batteries and capacitors to a single device capable of satisfying the entire power budget. For munitions applications, such a device could be charged completely during the initialization sequence of the round to provide power throughout the entire munition power budget, which would typically last for a few seconds. The energy stored would need to be on the order of 10s of kJs for the intended applications with typical runtimes maxing out on the order of several minutes. Devices capable of meeting these requirements as well as the standard munition environmental requirements would have widespread use among munitions applications.

DESCRIPTION: Power sources for munitions have relatively strict requirements, and consequently are limited to a narrow selection of conventional solutions. These conventional solutions are expensive, large, and will not generally support a significant amount of commercial attractiveness. Reserve batteries are typically utilized in order to meet the 20-year shelf life, but they suffer from reduced power and energy densities because of the separation of electrolyte from the cell, and/or suffer from a limited run time, or power capability depending on the application. It would be desirable to have a device, which could store a large amount of energy over the time period of a few seconds and satisfy the complete munition power budget. Combining the multiple power sources within some munitions maximizes the volumetric efficiency of the munition power source, allowing for high power delivery in small and lightweight package that would meet all military requirements.

This has advantages in munitions since it provides significant flexibility in power system design. Currently, there may be up to three energy storage components in munitions The replacement of these three elements with a single energy storage component would reduce weight and volume and provide system flexibility and would require a rechargeable high power battery with characteristics similar to a high power capacitor but with an energy storage capability of a battery. Identification and production of a suitable high power rechargeable electrochemical power source is the objective of this program. In addition there are operational and military operational temperature requirements (–40 to +145 degrees F), a required shelf life of 20 years and a manufacturability for these power sources. Voltage outputs should extend from a few volts to 2 Kilovolts. There is a lack of suitable solutions to meet the Army munitions needs for rechargeable high power batteries with capacitor-like power delivery capabilities.

PHASE I: Feasibility evaluation of proposed high power high energy storage power will include identification of electrochemical power source materials and suitable engineering architectures to deliver high power and acquire energy at rates similar to high power capacitors. In addition to power delivery performance, capabilities to operate under military conditions – e.g. over wide temperature ranges, and to retain their storage characteristics over a period of 20 years will also be included in the search for suitable chemistries and engineering. The selection will then down select to candidate prototypes for transition to Phase II. The energy storage component will also offer high safety throughout a range of environmental and operational conditions.

PHASE II: Build full-scale rechargeable high power and high energy storage prototypes and test in relevant environments. Demonstrate that prototypes can survive in operational environments while providing voltages from a few volts to up to 2000 volts with the capability of integration into munitions power systems to.

PHASE III: Develop a manufacturing plan for transition from prototypes to low rate initial production. Possibility for application not limited to the realm of munitions. Examples include electric vehicle transportation, high power tools, medical devices, communications and entertainment.

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