NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-1 O1.07-8424
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Transformational Communications Technology
PROPOSAL TITLE: Electrochemical Capacitor Development for Pulsed Power Communications

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Eltron Research & Development , Inc
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301 - 3241
(303) 530-0263

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Christopher L. Marotta
4600 Nautilus Court South
Boulder, CO 80301 - 3241
(303) 530-0263

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 4

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This SBIR Phase I addresses the development of electrochemical ultracapacitors (ECs) using graphitic nanosheets as the electrode material. The advantages Eltron's technology will be the reduction of device size due to superior power densities and relative powers. These materials also display reduced discharge response times compared to state of the art materials; this is advantageous for pulsed power applications such as burst communications and flash LIDAR. Eltron's carbon nanostructures are highly conductive and offer an ordered mesopore network. These attributes will provide more complete electrolyte wetting, and faster release of stored charge compared to activated carbon.
Preliminary studies have shown that Eltron's materials meet or exceed the performance of major EC manufacturers. The Phase I objectives will be to further increase performance with regards to high power/short duration demands. The technology is currently at a TRL 3 and we expect to reach a TRL 4 by the end of Phase I. In Phase II studies we will optimize the materials' performance and scale up prototype cells and validate performance in critical test environments.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
NASA is interested in electrochemical capacitors for transient power demands that are capable of rapid discharges, typically less than one second. Such demands shorten battery and fuel cell lifetime. ECs will be used to complement an energy storage system (load leveling), dramatically lengthening battery/fuel cell lifetimes while reducing the required sizes of the batteries/fuel cells. Specifically ECs can be used in burst communications systems that require high power transients on the order of millisecond durations with a short number of total pulses to avoid detection. Other NASA applications would be flash LIDAR for Object Detection and Avoidance (ODA) systems (for avoiding rocks when landing) and autonomous rover guidance on a planet surface. Finally, NASA is looking to replace hydraulic systems with electromechanical actuators that require high transient power delivery. These requirements can be fulfilled by ECs which store charge that can be quickly discharged without burdening batteries or fuel cells.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Other applications include maintenance-free power sources for microcomputer memories, backup power for actuator and solenoid valves, and power supplements for consumer electronic devices. The biggest potential market of ECs will be the automotive sector for launch assist and regenerative braking in electric vehicles.
EC's with improved performance (greater relative energy and power, improved charge/discharge capacities) would generate increased interest among producers of battery operated equipment. ECs may have a prominent impact on hybrid electric vehicles, where their implementation would mature the development of this technology. Successful development of this technology would potentially improve the fuel efficiency of these HEV's significantly since the need for large batteries could be reduced. The economic impacts would also promote a greater demand for carbon nanomaterials, and would lead to more competition among manufacturers, providing quality products at a lower price. This technology could also be adapted for battery and fuel cell electrodes.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Energy Storage
Guidance, Navigation, and Control

Form Generated on 09-18-07 17:50