Thermal Isolation Technology for Large-Format Li-ion Batteries

Period of Performance: 08/25/2015 - 11/28/2017


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ADA Technologies, Inc.
8100 Shaffer Parkway Array
Littleton, CO 80127
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


ABSTRACT:Large format lithium-ion batteries with ineffective cell isolation are potentially hazardous when exposed to conditions such as crush, overcharge, discharge, high temperature and internal short circuit. The recent Boeing incidents and similar incidents in the automotive industry underscore the importance of current research into the root causes and safety hazards associated with such batteries. In the event of cell failure, propagation of heat can occur, from a defective/damaged cell to the surrounding ones in a battery pack leading to a ?domino-effect? and resulting in extensive thermal runaway. Such safety concerns can impede the combat capability of critical platforms like Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). To address this need, ADA Technologies, Inc. (ADA) has successfully implemented and demonstrated the feasibility of an effective, passive thermal isolation technology (during the recently concluded Phase I SBIR effort) that holds tremendous potential as a drop-in safety implementation for JSF energy storage devices, among others. In the proposed Phase II project, the efficacy of ADA?s multi-layer thermal isolation materials (in the prevention of cell-to-cell thermal and deflagration-generated projectile communication) will be demonstrated in a JSF-relevant article, in partnership with a leading battery manufacturer for the US Air Force (AF).BENEFIT:Thermal runaway is one of the biggest issues hampering safe operation of large-format Li-ion packs ?this is exemplified by the fires on Boeing 787s in the recent past, as well as several UPS/FedEx cargo airplane fires. Hence, the proposed technology, which mitigates thermal runaway/escalation risks in the event of abnormal cell operation, will play a significant role in enabling next-generation AF, Navy, JSF and commercial air vehicle applications. In addition, ADA foresees near-term applications in battery backs for ground vehicles (both military and commercial uses) as well as commercial airliners. For example, next-generation hybrid vehicles for the Armed Forces seek safe, reliable operation and such thermal management/isolation technologies for cells in large-format battery packs is imperative to meet mission needs and ensure safety for our troops. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) acknowledges that although significant progress has been made in the development of chemistries for high-voltage/high-energy batteries, the ?missing developmental area in the space of large-format high power batteries is internal, cell-level thermal management?. Examples include shipboard munitions and communication applications, where the utilization of large-format batteries is inevitable. In addition, far-reaching effects of this technology include alleviating regulatory concerns in the foreseeable future, such as safety requirements for storage/transport of large battery shipment (in UPS, FedEx air cargo bays etc.). New and evolving regulations expected to be incorporated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are expected to emphasize on improved thermal isolation of failed cells and battery systems, to minimize catastrophic events.