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NASA JSC seeking partners for collaborative development of electrolyte additive solutions to prevent Li-ion overcharge

14 January 2014

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center (JSC) is looking to partner on the development of broadly applicable technologies as a means to accelerate technology development and strengthen commercialization of federally-funded research and development. One specific area of interest is advancing technology associated with electrolyte additive solutions to prevent overcharge of Lithium Ion cells. (NNJ14ZBH016L)

Existing Lithium Ion Battery designs operate with charge controls provided by the Battery Management Unit electronics. These electronics occupy space and consume power from the battery pack. Thermal runaway due to overcharge would generate high cell temperature and cause fire that could propagate to other cells within a battery pack. The ability to prevent overcharge by having an electrolyte additive will eliminate the use of external electronic controls.

State-of-the-art-technology is limited to safe and reliable operations at a temperature range of -20 to 60 °C for discharge, and a temperature range of 0 to +45 °C for charge. The highest energy densities for current Lithium Ion technology are 675 Wh/L (volumetric) and 245 Wh/Kg (gravimetric).

Additive for Lithium Ion Cells to Prevent Overcharge is estimated at a Technology Readiness Level of TRL-4.

NASA JSC is equipped with destructive physical analysis facilities that include spectrometers, glove box, gas chromatographs, infra-red spectrometers, high-performance liquid chromatographs, and vent hoods. NASA JSC possesses advanced cell cycling and abuse testing capabilities that provide valuable data on the cell performance containing the overcharge prevention additive solution.

This partner relationship may produce new IP that could be jointly owned by NASA and the partner or may become the property of the partner.

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