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Development of Graphene Batteries for Use in Space Applications


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms 

OBJECTIVE: Mature use of graphene in a Lithium-Ion Battery through the development of full cell configuration using pre-lithiated anodes. 

DESCRIPTION: Mass of spacecraft power system components can be a significant portion of the overall spacecraft mass. In order to reduce the mass required for spacecraft batteries and to meet exponentially increasing satellite energy requirements to support tomorrow’s warfighters, advanced energy storage cell development is required. Current Lithium-ion batteries use graphite as an anode. The use of graphene or graphene enhancements to replace graphite shows great promise in providing high gravimetric capacity while also maintaining reasonable cycling stability. Proposed technologies should be able to withstand 3-5 year operational lifetimes, maintain reasonable capacity (80%), and exhibit cycling stability after 20,000 cycles. Much research has been performed exploring graphene enhancements to energy storage cells. Review of the literature shows several different graphene and graphene enhanced anodes with 2x gravimetric potential compared to graphite and modest reduction in cycling capacity. Most research was performed in a half cell configuration which doesn't provide an accurate picture of energy and power density for operational cells. This topic aims to advance graphene electrodes and graphene enhancements to full cells for a space application. Approaches may include improvements to cell components, novel materials or processes, or other innovative ideas. However, production of full cells requires a pre-lithiation step to obtain decent electrochemical performances which increases difficulty in battery manufacturability. Producing a full cell, with a pre-lithiation step, is critical in assessing future graphene performance as an anode in battery use. 

PHASE I: Utilize existing research to determine viability and suitability of graphene anodes for future development into a full cell configuration. Perform initial testing and analysis of available graphene enhancements and anodes with chosen cathode(s) to down-select. Predict performance metrics (energy/power density, etc.) for chosen anode/cathode/electrolyte combinations. 

PHASE II: Of the downselected graphene or graphene enhanced anodes, perform a manufacturing study to determine which material types are optimal for prelithiation steps. Based on the results of the study, begin the process of creating a manufacturing method that simplifies the prelithiation stage and provides consistent pre-lithiation results. Execute the pre-lithiation stage and analyze the results. 

PHASE III: Manufacture the prelithiated anodes. Determine anode/cathode/electrolyte formulations for best performance and combine into full cells. Characterize the full cells for energy, power density and weight for potential space qualification. 


1. Critical Insight into the Relentless Progression Toward Graphene and Graphene Containing Materials for Lithium Ion Battery Anodes; 2. Pre-Lithiation Strategies for Rechargeable Energy Storage Technologies: Concepts, Promises and Challenges; 3. Current Progress of Si/Graphene Nanocomposites for Lithium-Ion Batteries; 4. Characterization of a hybrid Li-ion anode system from pulsed laser deposited silicon on CVD-grown multilayer Graphene

KEYWORDS: Graphene, Anode, Pre-lithiation, Gravimetric 

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