Navy

New, Stronger, Longer-Lasting Batteries

40% improvement, Solvent-free, recharges thousands of times at very high temperatures

Energy

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Scientists at China Lake now have two patents for enhanced capacitors and batteries using ionic liquids. New batteries are stronger, solvent free, and capable of recharging thousands of times at very high temperatures.

Existing Technology

Today’s capacitors do not last. A car battery can handle about three cycles at high depth of discharge and has trouble operating at low temperatures. Many battery systems are unable to handle high power (fast charge / discharge), and battery systems have to be over-designed to handle high-power loads. Portable energy storage is becoming a critical problem for both the civilian and the military. The Navy has several power leveling initiatives and there is a demonstrated need for power sources that can store more energy than capacitors and deliver more power than batteries. Other needs are for multifunctional batteries, conformal batteries. These devices must also be able to withstand the temperature extremes listed in military specifications.

New Technology

This new China Lake technology holds promise for dramatically improving today’s batteries by as much as 40%. These new enhancements create greater stability and improve energy storage. The new batteries have a long shelf life, work at low temperatures, can provide pulse / peak power for longer periods, and can handle high power for many cycles. These new polymer capacitors can handle tens of thousands of charges at a high depth of discharge and can operate below 0°Celsius as well as withstand temperatures up 175° Fahrenheit. In addition, the active part of the charge storage device is entirely made of plastic. Future battery concepts include lithium sulfur batteries.

This ambitious undertaking began in the late 1990s, came to fruition in 2005, and technologies have been evolving since. Scientists at NAWCWD, working with Georgia Tech, developed these devices in a collaborative effort funded by the Office of Naval Research. Researchers are working hard to improve the density significantly before the technology transitions to industry. China Lake continues to be the Navy’s point of contact for analyzing and testing portable power and energy storage devices.

How It Works

Researchers incorporated an ionic liquid into the device and used certain electrochemical growth techniques. A supercapacitor comprising a poly (3,4-ethylendioxythiophene) (PEDOT) and poly(3,4-propylenedioxythiophene) (PProDOT) as electrode couples for the capacitor and a pair of gel electrolyte layers disposed between the electrodes. The gel electrolytes are separated by a battery paper and are selected from a group consisting of a lithium salt and an organic electrolyte or an ionic liquid.

Who Benefits

Any industry that uses portable power can benefit from this technology.

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