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Posted: Mar 19, 2014
Research for next-generation batteries to be used in space
(Nanowerk News) The U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) and NASA Glenn Research Center are collaborating to develop next-generation batteries for use in future space missions.
The coordinated effort announced today combines JCESR’s deep knowledge of the basic science in energy storage research with NASA Glenn’s expertise engineering battery technologies with aerospace applications. JCESR and NASA Glenn intend to perform the required research so that NASA can identify promising technologies to develop, test and build prototypes for use in NASA missions for planetary exploration.
Argonne assistant materials scientist Swati V. Pol loads an in-situ lithium-ion battery into the low-energy resolution inelastic X-ray (LERIX) system at the Advanced Photon Source (APS). This multi-element X-ray scattering instrument is helping Argonne researchers to understand the fundamental mechanisms that limit the performance of batteries.
Today’s lithium-ion batteries, which hold more than twice the energy of those released in 1991, power our cellular phones, laptops and electric vehicles. But even when brought to their energy storage potential, lithium-ion batteries will not meet NASA’s needs. Capitalizing on JCESR’s research, NASA Glenn will focus on developing next generation batteries with energy capacities beyond those of lithium-ion batteries to meet the aggressive goals of the space program.
As part of the collaboration, NASA Glenn will serve as a potential “first adopter” of developed high potential battery technologies suitable for aerospace applications. Some of the application areas NASA has identified for use of next generation batteries are Extravehicular Activity suits, exploratory rovers and green aviation.
“NASA Glenn scientists, researchers, and engineers have a decades long heritage of making major break- throughs in energy storage in support of our country’s exploration of space and international leadership in commercial and military aviation,” said Robert J. Shaw, Director of Venture Development and Partnerships at NASA Glenn Research Center. “Efforts at Glenn include fundamental research, technology development, hardware system integration and performance testing.”
“The beyond lithium-ion space is rich with opportunity and mostly unexplored,” said George Crabtree, Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research. “In this collaboration, JCESR will share fundamental research results with NASA, enabling them to develop technologies that benefit the space program and, ultimately, society as a whole through commercialization opportunities with a wide range of applications.”