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Development of a High Performance, Printed Conformal Li Battery



OBJECTIVE: Develop and demonstrate a high-performance, rechargeable, printed, solid state battery with a specific energy >250 Wh/kg at a C/5 rate. The battery must maintain >500 cycles over an operating temperature range of 0 degrees C to 50 degrees C with humidity conditions ranging from 0 to 100 percent while sustaining a high level of performance. 

DESCRIPTION: The emphasis of this topic shall be on the development of aerosol jet, inkjet printing, syringe deposition or non-vacuum deposition technologies to demonstrate printed all-solid state batteries with a specific energy >250Wh/kg at a C/5 discharge rate, and an objective 4 Ahr cell size. The cell should be capable of maintaining a constant discharge rate up to 2C, as well as, have the ability to operate under these conditions over a wide temperature (0 degrees C to 50 degrees C) and humidity (0 to 100 percent) range. The Battlefield Air Operations (BAO) Kit's capability description document (CDD) provides many key performance parameter (KPP) and key system attribute (KSA) requirements addressed in this project. The focus of this project is to provide battlefield airmen (BA) with a safe, energy dense power source for dismounted missions. The BA worn system is only one of many military assets relying on rechargeable batteries as their power source. There continues to be an increasing need for batteries with more electrical energy and power as the capabilities for these systems continue to improve. The increasing need for additional batteries to support these growing power and energy demands comes with added weight and mounting space limitations. The BA can carry in excess of 30 lbs. of batteries, including BB-2590s, to support a single mission. Solid state battery technology is one approach toward enabling the use of high energy-dense electrode materials, which will help limit the weight of the batteries the warfighter will need to carry, while providing a safer Li-ion battery solution. One of the limiting factors for solid state batteries is the high interfacial charge transfer resistance between the electrodes and electrolyte, as well as the conductivity of the electrolyte. This limits operation at lower temperatures and high discharge rates (up to 2 degrees C). Solid state batteries provide the opportunity of increased cycle life and shelf life with dendrite formation and growth suppression. In addition, solid state batteries may enable the utilization of high voltage / high energy electrode options since solid state electrolytes are known to exhibit good electrochemical stability and a wide electrochemical window, thus further improving the energy density. The focus of this effort is to explore the use of 3-D printing mask-less deposition techniques, such as aerosol jet, inkjet printing, syringe deposition, or non-vacuum deposition technologies as a potential approaches to provide intimate contact between electrode and electrolyte layers, which will address the interfacial charge transfer resistance. 3-D printing techniques provide the ability to functionally engineer the cell layers, as a mean to lower interfacial charge transfer resistance, thereby improving Li-ion transference, cycle life, as well as, overall battery performance. Furthermore, the ability to use a more automated 3-D printing processing technique could not only enable the solid state battery technology to be readily scaled to a range of cell sizes but also reduce manufacturing costs. This will allow for the realization of solid state batteries which can provide a safer, more robust product for the warfighter in comparison to the current conventional cells which contain a volatile liquid electrolyte. 

PHASE I: Design and define performance parameters/integration constraints for the battery. Demonstrate feasibility of a printed solid state battery. Demonstrate overall performance improvements when compared to a common lithium ion battery. Provide testing to prove safe and reliable charge/discharge capabilities, and performance in various temperature (0 degrees C to 50 degrees C) and humidity conditions (0 to 100 percent). 

PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate a prototype 4Ah solid state 3-D printed cell with the ability to meet the stated metrics above. Demonstrate and validate the ability to meet required performance. Demonstrate the safety improvements and the operational conditions, structural robustness, and energy/power efficiency to meet design metrics. Conduct a formal risk assessment of the printed solid state battery, projected cost analysis for manufacturing, and document key program risks. Deliver a prototype printed solid state battery to AFRL for testing and analysis. 

PHASE III: Mature technology and produce representative articles for operational test assessments. Submit production representative articles for certification. Provide operator and maintainer manuals. Develop and refine cost and schedule estimates for full rate production. 


1. Kim, S., et al., "Printable Solid-State Lithium-Ion Batteries: A New Route toward Shape-Conformable Power Sources with Aesthetic Versatility for Flexible Electronics," ACS Nano Letters 15, 5168-5177 (2015).; 2. Gu, Y., et al., "Fabrication of rechargeable lithium ion batteries using water-based inkjet printed cathodes," Journal of Manufacturing Processes 20, 198-205 (2015).; 3. Lawes, S., et al., "Inkjet-printed silicon as high performance anodes for Li-ion batteries," 36, 313-321 (2017).; 4. Blake, A., et al., "3D Printable Ceramic-Polymer Electrolytes for Flexible High Performance Li-Ion Batteries with Enhanced Thermal Stability," Adv Energy Mater 1602920 (2017).

KEYWORDS: Solid Electrolyte, Aerosol Jet, Inkjet, Additive Manufacturing, Rechargeable Solid State Battery, Battlefield Airman, Safety 

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