KULR licenses NASA’s Fractional Thermal Runaway Calorimeter for battery safety and thermal management
02 December 2022
KULR Technology Group has achieved operational readiness for its Fractional Thermal Runaway Calorimeter (FTRC) within its suite of battery safety and thermal management solutions after finalizing a commercial licensing agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the agency’s patent-pending FTRC solution.
Originally developed by NASA and refined by KULR’s engineering team led by NASA alumni and current KULR Chief Technology Officer, Dr William Walker, FTRC measures the amount of heat energy released during a thermal runaway event.
FTRC supports the discernment between (1) the total heat output due to thermal runaway and (2) the fraction of the total heat that is released through a cell’s casing versus through its ejecta material. The energy fractions are determined by post processing temperature vs. time for specially designed calorimeter sub-assembly groups.
The FTRC can induce thermal runaway with cartridge heaters, with a nail penetration system, or by combining the cartridge heaters with specialized test cells constructed with a built-in internal short-circuiting device (ISC).
This technology helps engineers and designers better understand these incidents and helps develop safer battery solutions to mitigate them. FTRC also allows engineers and designers to perform necessary testing experiments faster while also enabling them to utilize the variety of trigger methods noted above.
Intricacies of the FTRC. Source: NASA.
Following a one-year trial license from NASA, KULR’s new commercial license allows FTRC to be utilized by commercial-leaning companies, such as aerospace company Lockheed Martin, that wish to develop better and safer battery pack and battery management system (BMS) designs. This successful progression deepens the KULR’s position as a leading end-to-end battery safety design, testing, shipping, storage and failure-mitigation provider.
The commercial license for KULR’s FTRC specifically applies to 18650 and 21700 format Lithium-ion cells; KULR plans to enable pouch cell FTRC next month.
FTRC is a key part of KULR’s holistic methodology for the design of safe battery systems and amplifies the company’s mission of providing commercially applicable solutions that support the electrification of the circular economy. It is humbling to see a technology that I co-invented during my tenure at NASA become a licensed product in private industry and I am excited to support our customers with this new service offering. Fractional calorimetry has certainly changed the way we understand thermal runaway and I cannot wait to see what else is revealed to the industry as we continue our explorative studies internally on thermal runaway behavior.—William Walker