ADA Technologies, Inc. (ADA) successfully demonstrated ADA advanced lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery technology through material engineering of battery cell components with the following main achievements. (1) Successfully developed sulfur-carbon (S-C) composite electrodes with high S content, high electrode loading and excellent electrochemical performance in the resultant Li-S cells projecting conservatively a specific energy of >400 Wh/kg at cell level. (2) Successfully developed Li metal anode protection and coating methodologies with demonstrated superior electrochemical performance to the uncoated Li anode including high specific capacity/energy, improved cycle stability and suppressed Li dendrite formation for improved battery operation and safety of the resultant Li-S cells or batteries. (3) Using the advanced battery cell components developed under the Phase I program, the advanced Li-S cells demonstrated highly stable cycle life performance showing a great promise of achieving cycle life of 1,000 cycles at 70% depth-of-discharge (DOD). (4) ADA successfully demonstrated a Li-S pouch cell of 350 mAh in size, which delivered a high specific capacity and a stable Coulombic efficiency. This result will guide Phase II scale up efforts.
The successful Phase I program laid a solid foundation and justification for a continued Phase II development effort where a technical readiness level (TRL) of 6 is anticipated at the end of the Phase II program. ADA proposes the following Phase II development efforts: (1) Further develop/mature the Li-S battery technology via material engineering to achieve multiple performance goals including >400 Wh/kg at cell level, 1,000 cycles at 70% DOD and wide temperature operation (-20°C to +70°C). (2) Demonstrate the Li-S battery technology in large format prototype cells with a subsequent manufacturing/commercialization efforts for NASA lunar/space applications and non-NASA applications (e.g., defense, commercial).
An immediate potential application for the ADA Li-S chemistry is thrust vector control (TVC) systems used in flight control systems of launchers and space vehicles. These systems demand high energy and power to control the flight surfaces of high value vehicles. The technology would also play very well in interplanetary spacecraft. This Li-S chemistry would provide high energy density for the modest number of battery cycles these missions require. Another potential application for this chemistry is planetary rovers.
Mission-critical battery back-up systems are a potential application for this technology. Remotely located back-up energy storage for critical government communications and mobile lightweight UPS power to back-up rocket launch computing and communications equipment can also be addressed with this Li-S technology. DOD spacecraft have similar energy storage needs as NASA and are in play.