NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-2 X6.02-9113
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Space-Rated Batteries
PROPOSAL TITLE: Silicon Whisker and Carbon Nanofiber Composite Anode

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Physical Sciences, Inc.
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 689-0003

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Junqing Ma
20 New England Business Center
Andover, MA 01810 - 1077
(978) 689-0003

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 5

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has successfully developed a silicon whisker and carbon nanofiber composite anode for lithium ion batteries on a Phase I program. PSI has demonstrated a technology readiness level of 3 with an anode composite capacity of greater than 1100 mAh/g for over 200 cycles (100% depth-of-discharge) at 1C using 2 mAh cells. This anode provides high capacity, high power, and improved cycle life at a competitive cost. Silicon is low cost and has a theoretical capacity of 4200 mAh/g but it has a limited cycle life. The nanocomposite design provides a synergistic improvement in reversible capacity and electrochemical cycling as a result of the unique silicon architecture and structural reinforcement provided by the nanofibers. In the Phase II program, PSI will increase cell size to 2.5 mAh and optimize cell design to further improve cycle life. PSI will deliver to NASA 2.5 Ah lithium ion cells with an energy density greater than 220 Wh/kg that is required by NASA's future robotic and human exploration missions. In collaboration with a battery manufacturer, PSI will also demonstrate that this anode technology is scaleable to reach industrial production level.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Energy storage with improved weight and volume performance are required for various NASA applications which are both orbital and planetary surface. Flight elements of the Exploration Vision initially include the Orion and ARES crew and launch vehicles, respectively. For lunar capability, additional elements include the Lunar Lander or Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM), robotic missions, and surface systems. Surface systems include human habitats, Extravehicular Activities (EVA), science measurements, and the utilization of in situ resources. This lithium-ion battery system has the capability to provide an energy density of greater than 220 Wh/kg with a 1-year calendar year service life. The battery system contains no toxic materials and lends itself to being human rated for Exploration missions. These mission applications include portable power for landers, rovers, and astronaut equipment; storage systems for crew exploration vehicles and spacecraft; and stationary energy storage applications such as base power or peaking power applications.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Rechargeable lithium ion batteries have rapidly become the primary choice to power the next generation hybrid electric vehicles. These battery packs require large volumes of low cost anode materials that provide higher charge and rate capability than graphite anodes. This proposal will utilize carbon nanofiber stabilized silicon whisker as active materials that will provide unmatchable capacity and rate capability. Success in the proposed Phase II research will result in a novel silicon whisker composite anode that can be readily incorporated in lithium ion batteries. The scalable synthesis process would allow the anode to be produced at a sufficiently low cost to allow incorporation in the targeted electric vehicle and bulk energy storage markets.

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

Form Generated on 08-03-09 13:26