SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  N102-107 (Navy)
Title:  Autonomous Maintenance and Health Monitoring of Rechargeable Batteries
Research & Technical Areas:  Ground/Sea Vehicles, Materials/Processes, Electronics

Acquisition Program:  PM EPS, ACAT IV
  Objective:  The objective of this topic is to eliminate the logistical problems associated with self discharge of rechargeable batteries while in storage aboard Amphibs, MPF ships, and at ground based storage facilities. A second objective is to rapidly, and cost effectively, determine the state of health (SOH) of a large number of batteries during storage.
  Description:  As the use of rechargeable batteries become more and more prevalent within the DoD the logistical burden of these batteries are growing. One logistical burden is in storage and maintenance of these batteries. All rechargeable batteries have a self discharge rate which slowly drains batteries of energy while in storage. This self discharge rate is variable and depends on battery chemistry, battery design, storage time, and storage conditions. If rechargeable batteries are allowed to remain at an extremely low state of charge (SOC) due to self discharge for a long period of time, the batteries can become permanently damaged and must be disposed of. Due to the high volume of batteries used by the DoD it becomes impractical from a time, safety and cost prospective for the Marine Corps to perform maintenance recharges on all stored batteries every 3 to 6 months. In addition several locations, such as ship platforms, currently prohibit charging of lithium batteries due to safety concerns adding to the logistical problems. What is needed is an autonomous battery maintenance technology that will help to maintain batteries in a safety and controlled manner while undergoing long term storage aboard ship or in a warehouse environment. This technology should be able to remove any safety impacts to the storage facility if battery where to enter a thermal runaway event. The technology should also compensate for self discharge rates within the battery, require no significant manpower to operate or maintain the batteries, autonomously recognize and maintain a wide variety of lithium batteries, have an minimal overall impact to cost, and does not alter the battery when being used during deployment. In addition to an autonomous battery maintenance device it is also desired that the system is easily monitored by the depot workers to help rapidly determine the health of a large quantity of batteries. Technology areas of interest for this topic include but are not limited to energy harvesting, “Bat Cave” development, battery hazard mitigation technology, RFID, battery health monitoring, novel storage techniques, large scale-low power-long distance inductive charging, and other technology that might solve the above stated problem. This topic seeks innovative scientific and engineering solutions. Of particular interest are initiatives with a clear business case. Proposals should specifically describe the technology that will be applied to solve the problem, how it will be developed, what the estimated benefits will be and how it might be transitioned into the DoD. Proposals under this topic must address integration of the technology into a battery storage facility.

  PHASE I: At the completion of Phase I there shall be a feasibility study, energy consumption models, technical characteristics, and a cost analysis of the design. Develop and demonstrate breadboard design of key technology components. Include a first order Return-On-Investment (ROI) analysis for implementation and estimate potential Total Ownership Cost (TOC) reduction. Establish Phase II performance goals and key developmental milestones.
  PHASE II: Finalize the design and demonstrate a working prototype of the proposed system. Perform laboratory tests to validate the performance characteristics established in Phase I. Develop a detailed plan and method of implementation into a full-scale application.

  PHASE III: Implement the Phase III plan developed in Phase II. Prepare a manufacturing plan and marketing plan to sell this product to the government as well as the private sector. Make the necessary teaming arrangements with the manufacturers of the components used in this product. PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/

  DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Autonomous maintenance and storage monitoring technology is applicable to almost every commercial industry. In addition to battery storage this technology could be used in the healthcare industry, automotive industry, as well as the aviation industry.

  References:   1. Linden, Handbook of Battery, http://www.marcorsyscom.usmc.mil/sites/pmeps/

Keywords:  battery, RFID tag, autonomous, battery maintenance, energy scavenging, rechargeable battery, Battery safety, Bat Cave

Questions and Answers:
Q: 1. What size and/or Voltage batteries should the prototype system address initially?

2. Can you give some examples of size and volume of the battery storage facilities?
A: 1. The system should be adaptable to many sizes of lithium ion batteries, primarily 6-36 V.

2. Batt Cave type of storage facilities should hold approximately 80-100 or more batteries. Pallet maintenance should focus on pallets of approximately 800 batteries.

Q: Are the physical dimensions of the different types of Li batteries the same?
A: No.
Q: You mention the second goal of "determine the state of health (SOH) of a large number of batteries during storage. " What metrics do you use to determine state of health(SOH)?
A: The purpose of measuring SOH is to insure the battery is good when it will be pulled. The primary measure of this would be voltage though other factors can provide health information such as cycle life, age, temperature exposure, etc. The metrics of SOH will depend on the model created and its effectiveness.
Q: Are the different types of batteries stored together or are they segregated by Li type?
A: The lithium battery will be stored together in one facilities but different types of batteries will have some sort of physical separation. The size of this separation will vary depending on the size of the facility and number of batteries.
Q: What power resources would be available at the storage locations i.e. shipboard power?
120 V 60 HZ AC outlet?
None?
A: The two locations we are looking at to use this technology will have varying voltage ranges available. Land power will typically be 120VAC, 60Hz. Ship based power could be 440VAC, 60Hz.

Q: Are the terminals/contacts on each type of Li battery the same? i.e. a standard Duracell 9V has a different contact than a standard D cell.
A: No they are not all the same.
Q: You mention that there will be several different battery models being monitored. Could you provide three battery models as examples, so that we can look at the specifications.
A: Some of the Li rechargeable batteries used by the Marine Corps are:
BB-2590
BB-2557
AN/PRC-152 Radio Battery
AN/PRC-153 Radio Battery
BB-2600A/U
BB-2800/U
BB-2847A/U
Q: Will these batteries be SMBus ver 1.1 spec compliant?
A: BB-2590s are. Most other batteries are not.
Q: Is it desirable to have a full integrated system with monitoring and charging?
a. If so, would it be desirable to use COTS charging systems already in use?
b. If a custom charging system is desired, is a "smart charger" required?
c. What would be the minimum desired charge range for a battery to be considered ready, 80%, 90%, or 100%?
A: Yes, a fully integrated system is desirable.
The details of the charging system are up to the offeror.
Batteries should be fully charged to be considered ready.
Q: Is there existing data available for what sorts of Ah capacity loss vs. time for the various types of batteries? If so is the data available?
A: No.
Q: 1. What is the expected lifetime of a battery just sitting on a shelf?
2. At what point will a battery be considered to old to be in service?
A: 1. Expected lifetime varies depending on battery type.
2. The system should tell us when the battery should no longer be in service. Typically the military considers a battery past its operational life once it permanently loses 20% of its capacity.
Q: What would be the preferred unit cost? Or at least what is the typical existing cost for personnel to verify batteries manually at this time, as stated in the SBIR topic?
A: Less expensive is better. Currently no manpower goes into maintaining or verifying batteries in the warehouses. Batteries are only checked after users receive them.
Q: What are the size and weight constraints for such desired monitoring devices?
A: As small and light as possible.
Q: Any specific materials that are undesirable for construction?
A: Avoid materials which could be hazardous if a safety event were to occur in the battery.
Q: For larger storage units, what is the expected area that will be required for a wireless system
A: The size of storage facilities varies. Proposals should address how systems can accommodate different sizes and shapes of storage facilities.

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