Space energy storage systems are required to enable/enhance the capabilities of future planetary science missions. Venus aerial and surface missions pose challenges for energy storage systems where the temperature and pressure can be up to 460 °C and 92 bar, respectively. Rugged, high temperature batteries are needed for future long duration Venus missions. Lynntech proposes the development of a rechargeable lithium/selenium (Li/Se) battery which utilizes liquid lithium and selenium electrodes separated by a solid-state ceramic electrolyte. The use of a liquid electrodes is enabled by an innovative cell design which compensates for volume changes as the cell undergoes charge/discharge cycles. The new cell design permits direct operation in Venus’ high pressure atmosphere due to the lack of differential pressures. Furthermore, the new cell design is highly space and weight efficient and allows for packaged Li/Se cells with a specific power of up 760 Wh/kg and an energy density >1,500 Wh/kg.
During the Phase I, Lynntech will demonstrate the ability of the Li/Se chemistry to operate at temperatures up to 460 °C. Component level material development will also be performed to ensure stable long-term performance. The Phase I will culminate in the fabrication and testing of Li/Se cells utilizing the new volume compensating cell design. During Phase II, Lynntech will optimize the components and prototype cells to meet NASA’s cell performance goals. The advanced high temperature Li/Se batteries can provide significant mass and volume savings, as well as operational flexibility for NASA exploration missions.
Lynntech’s innovative volume compensating cell design has the potential to provide rugged, high energy density batteries. These batteries will be beneficial for NASA applications at high operation temperatures for inner terrestrial surface and low altitude and other systems. Additional NASA applications would include satellites, remote power equipment, telecommunications systems, remote sensors, detection devices where solar concentration heating can be harnessed.
The batteries proposed here can provide improved energy density, cycle life, and rate capability of energy storage systems for both commercial and military applications where operation temperatures can be elevated. Commercial applications include hybrid electric vehicles. Military applications include aircraft, military ground vehicles, and grid power systems.