Navitas Systems receives $1.55M contract for 2nd-gen 6T Li-ion battery; double energy density, +50% power density
Alion Science and Technology Corporation has awarded Navitas Systems LLC a contract worth up to $1.55 million to develop a next-generation lithium ion “6T” battery system for use in military applications, with a focus on ground combat vehicle applications. (Earlier post.)
Currently, there are three companies funded by Alion to develop a first-generation lithium 6T Battery: Navitas Systems, Saft (earlier post), and Eagle Picher. Navitas is the first, and so far the only, company to be awarded an additional contract for the development of a second-generation Li-ion 6T battery. Navitas Systems will leverage the award to enhance the capabilities of its current Ultanium Military 6T Battery by significantly increasing the energy and power density over the current first generation lithium version.
The first-generation Ultanium 6T battery will be undergoing testing by the United States Army by the fourth quarter this year, with production scheduled for mid-2015 conditioned on a successful test outcome.
The lithium iron phosphate first-generation Ultanium 6T battery is available in 24V and 12V models, and is approximately 40% lighter than lead-acid batteries of equivalent capacity.
The 24V version is targeted to the 24V electrical systems of military vehicles. The Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (“JLTV”) is targeted to replace a portion of the Army and Marine Corps’ Humvee fleets, and Lockheed Martin, AM General, and Oshkosh Defense are vying for the production contract. The JLTV is the first United States military vehicle to include in its specifications the use of lithium-ion 6T batteries.
The 12V version can be used in either military or in commercial starting/deep cycle applications. Earlier this year, prototypes of the Ultanium 6T 12 volt battery underwent successful hot and cold weather testing on commercial Class 8 highway delivery trucks in a project funded by the US Army TARDEC and CALSTART.
|Ragone plot show’s TARDEC’s goals for Gen 1 and Gen 2 Li-ion 6T batteries compared to lead-acid 6T. Source: TARDEC. Click to enlarge.|
For the second generation, Navitas is tasked with improving upon the 6T battery platform for use in high demand environments. TARDEC’s (US Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center) goal for the second-generation is to double the energy density of the Gen 1 6T Li-ion batteries from 80 Wh/kg to >160Wh/kg and to increase power density by 50%.
The goal is to develop a battery that will enable high efficiency to vehicles that spend extended time with engines idling to power onboard electronics. Navitas will be developing both the cell and pack technology for the second-generation Ultanium 6T lithium ion battery. In addition, Navitas plans to commercialize the cell for dual-use applications.
The features of the new technology will ultimately address long cycle and calendar life, high charge acceptance rate, reduced weight and an intelligent battery management system designed to maximize the performance of the overall system. The Ultanium 6T Generation II battery will be designed and assembled in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The standard battery for the Unites States and many NATO ground combat vehicles, is the 6T battery which has to-date been based on lead acid chemistry. For example, a HUMVEE vehicle has two 6T batteries, and an Abrams tank can have from six to twelve 6T batteries.
In early 2012, Navitas acquired the Government Solutions Group of lithium-ion battery manufacturer A123 Systems, which introduced a Military 6T Battery in February 2012.
Jasna Tomic, CALSTART; Laurence Toomey, US Army RDECOM-TARDEC “Lithium-Ion 6T Battery Technology Field Testing in Commercial Trucks” (25 August 2014 presentation)