NASA SBIR 2007 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 07-2 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 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: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
In this NASA Phase II SBIR Project, we will continue the development of graphitic nanosheets (GNS) for electrochemical capacitor (EC) electrode materials. In the Phase I project, treatments of the electrode materials resulted in increases of relative capacitance (2x), relative energy (4x), and relative power (25%). These results surpassed those of commercially available ECs for relative power and will fulfill NASA's need for energy storage materials for communications and navigation.
We will address the following in the Phase II program: (1) Increase performance through exfoliation, activation, and other surface treatments; (2) Use these materials as supports for the deposition of pseudocapacitive species to form a nanocomposite electrode; (3) Improve the test cell fabrication to decrease equivalent series resistance (ESR) and passive layer formation; (4) Purify electrode materials and electrolyte to decrease leakage current and self-discharge; (5) Perform environmental testing including temperature, pressure, and vibration; (6) Fabricate, test, and deliver functional prototype cells to NASA at the end of the Phase II project. This technology is currently at a TRL of 3-4 and we expect to achieve a TRL of 5 with delivery of prototype cells to NASA for testing.

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 on the order of milliseconds. 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. ECs with improved performance (greater relative energy and power, improved charge/discharge capacities) are generating increased interest among producers of battery operated equipment. ECs can have a prominent impact on hybrid electric vehicles, where their implementation will accelerate the development of this technology. Successful development of this technology will improve the fuel efficiency of these HEVs significantly since the need for large batteries is reduced. The economic impacts will also promote a greater demand for carbon nanomaterials, and lead to more competition among manufacturers, providing quality products at a lower price. This technology can 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.

Architectures and Networks
Attitude Determination and Control
Autonomous Control and Monitoring
Electromagnetic Thrusters
Electrostatic Thrusters
Energy Storage
Guidance, Navigation, and Control
Launch Assist (Electromagnetic, Hot Gas and Pneumatic)
Manned-Maneuvering Units
Micro Thrusters
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Portable Life Support
Telemetry, Tracking and Control

Form Generated on 10-23-08 13:36