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Safe, Large-Format Lithium-ion (Li-ion) Batteries for ICBMs


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this effort is to develop safe, large-format Li-ion batteries where effects of cell and battery failure is minimized. 

DESCRIPTION: Rechargeable Li-ion batteries can fail violently when subjected to an internal electrical short, are overheated, crushed, or when they are overcharged/overdischarged. Recent events such as the grounding of a commercial aircraft due to Li-ion battery fires demonstrate that the safety of Li-ion batteries is of major concern. Hazards are amplified by batteries and personnel operating together in confined spaces. Of particular interest are improvements in safety for large-format Li-ion batteries by eliminating cell-to-cell thermal transport and cell failure propagation. Safe containment of flames and debris during any possible thermal runaway event is paramount to the usefulness of the battery. Containment would prevent damage to surrounding equipment and personnel outside the battery case. Interest would be given to solutions that are resistant to long storage and operation in high humidity, salt fog, and occasional fine sand environments. These new batteries will demonstrate improved safety under various abuse/extreme conditions while providing low impedance electrical performance. Innovation in this topic should place an emphasis on reducing the acquisition cost to levels competitive with existing Li-ion, lead-acid, Lithium Thermal and nickel-cadmium military batteries in terms of acquisition and life cycle. During Phase II, the offeror will produce a prototype battery that is compatible electrically and mechanically to a chosen Air Force (AF)/ICBM modular application at both the Launch Facility and Launch Control Center Battery. The prototype will provide superior handling both by dimensions and weight when compared to current battery. The offeror will also compare the performance to the baseline battery system. The Phase II prototype should be delivered to the AF for additional testing and evaluation. At the end of the contract, the offeror should also demonstrate the prototype to outbrief technology advancements. 

PHASE I: Develop an innovative, safe, large-format rechargeable Li-ion battery that does not have cell-to-cell propagation of a cell failure. Li-ion batteries will have equivalent/better energy/power density capability relative to current high rate Lead-Acid technology. Present experimental and other data to demonstrate feasibility of proposed solution. Develop initial transition plan. 

PHASE II: Produce alternative, safer Li-ion battery using the developed configuration for AF/ICBM on-demand power application. The prototype battery/module size will be determined during Phase I and during Phase II will be electrically and mechanically compatible to the target application. Provide cost projection data substantiating the design, performance, operational range, acquisition, and life cycle cost. Refine transition plan and business case analysis. 

PHASE III: Commercial applications include hybrid and electric vehicles. Demonstrate volume manufacturability of the design. The military applications include aircraft emergency and pulse power, electric tracked vehicles, unmanned systems, hybrid military vehicles, and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs). 


1: Kim, G.H., Smith, K., Ireland, J., and Pesaran, A., "Fail-safe design for large capacity lithium-ion battery systems," J. Power Sources, Vol. 210 (2012) pp. 243-253.

2:  Eliud Cabrera-Castilloa, Florian Niedermeiera, Andreas Jossenb, " Calculation of the state of safety (SOS) for lithium ion batteries", J. Power Sources, Vol. 324 (2016) pp. 509-520

3:  C.N. Ashtiani, "Analysis of battery safety and hazards’ risk mitigation", ECS Trans., 11 (2008), pp. 1–11

KEYWORDS: Lithium, Lithium-ion, Batteries, Safety, Rechargeable, Thermal, Failure, Propagation 


Max Alexander 

(937) 255-9135 

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