SBIR Phase II: Planar ZEBRA Battery Development

Period of Performance: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2012


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Materials & Systems Research, Inc.
5395 West 700 South Array
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is to develop a planar, highly compact, sodium-beta rechargeable battery using sodium-ion conducting beta?- alumina solid electrolyte (Na-BASE) sandwiched between liquid sodium and nickel chloride-based salt, (a p-ZEBRA battery). The commercially available sodium-beta batteries are all constructed with BASE tubes having wall thickness of over 2 millimeters to maintain the battery mechanical integrity, thus leading to relatively low specific energy densities and large thermal masses that inhibit fast thermal cycling. The primary objective of this program is to overcome the limitations of the state-of-the-art sodium- beta battery technologies by the development of an advanced battery with a thin planar architecture. High performance Na-BASE discs possessing high strength and high resistance to moisture and CO2 attack will be developed and manufactured using the MSRI?s patented vapor phase process. A unique battery design accompanying an advanced sealing technology development and degradation mitigation implementation will enable the p-ZEBRA battery integration and operation flexibility suitable for intermittent renewable energy storage applications (wind, solar power and geothermal) with high round-trip efficiencies. It also enables thermal integration with internal- combustion engines or solid oxide fuel cells for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) applications with extended driving range. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to provide a low cost, highly reliable electrical energy storage system, which integrates a broad spectrum of power generation systems. It includes fast market penetration of renewable energy power systems that mitigate issues of grid transient and national energy dependency, and gasoline internal-combustion engines or advanced solid oxide fuel cells for PHEVs with extended driving distances. The successful development and deployment of the proposed p-ZEBRA battery technology will assist the US in building critical new industry and reinstating US leadership in large-scale electrical energy storage systems.