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Energy Research Center faculty, Eric Wachsman, Liangbing Hu, and Chunsheng Wang have been awarded funding from NASA for their Garnet Electrolyte Based Safe, Lithium-Sulfur Energy Storage technology. NASA has selected this research proposal as a potentially breakthrough technology to power future space missions.  

This research is an extension of the team’s existing battery project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E), which focused on energy storage using solid-state electrolytes.  The solid-state lithium-ion battery with ceramic electrolyte has a greater abuse tolerance than liquid-based batteries, which allows these batteries to be lighter and have a longer life.  The solid-state construction also makes these batteries non-flammable and intrinsically safer than typical liquid-based lithium-ion batteries.

The research funded by NASA will utilize a sulfur cathode to increase the battery capacity.  This research aims to increase the energy and power density of storage technology, so that NASA space missions can have more power for longer missions, with minimal mass.

NASA is investing in the development of new energy storage devices that will help enable future robotic and human-exploration missions.  Spurred on by the National Research Council report, "NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities”, these technologies will provide NASA with improved energy generation and storage “with reliable power systems that can survive the wide range of environments unique to NASA missions." NASA believes these awards will lead to such energy breakthroughs.

"NASA's advanced space technology development doesn't stop with hardware and instruments for spacecraft," said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "New energy storage technology will be critical to our future exploration of deep space -- whether missions to an asteroid, Mars or beyond. That's why we're investing in this critical mission technology area."

For more information, click here to view NASA’s press release.



August 8, 2014


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