Researched and being developed for Aviation, the Automotive implementation implications could be profound! Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – Oct. 7, 2022 The SABERS’s solid-state battery made primarily from sulfur and selenium can be stacked without the need for separators. Over a decade ago, I was expending hours of effort each week perusing and posting about battery advancements and bio-fuel R&D developments from across the globe. With years of hope, posts, and promise, nothing has really come to fruition for the betterment of all. That may have just changed. NASA researchers are making progress with developing an innovative battery pack that is lighter, safer, and performs better than batteries commonly used in automobiles and large electronics today. NASA’s work is focused on lighter and more powerful solid-state batteries for future electric propelled aviation applications, but the automotive sectors inclusion would be far more pronounced. Unlike standard Li-Ion batteries, solid-state batteries do not contain liquids and thus their disadvantages such as overheating, fire, and loss of charge over time is significantly reduced. SABERS - Solid-state Architecture Batteries for Enhanced Rechargeability and Safety Solid-state batteries unfortunately have low discharge rates and SABERS researchers have almost doubled the rate, meaning that solid-state batteries can now power larger electronics with large power draws. The next step for SABERS is to test the prototype battery design in practical situations to verify it’s safe while delivering the performance and longevity that solid state batteries have always promised. Safety Current battery research is mostly oriented toward the auto industry, whose safety standards are less restrictive than those required for aviation applications where the batteries encounter more stressful environments. Solid-state batteries do not catch fire when they malfunction and can still operate when damaged making them an excellent substitute for a std. Li-Ion in the future. SABERS targets higher safety standard by proving their new battery design is both technically feasible and economically lucrative but also safer. Based on an analysis of what might be needed to operate a practical electric aircraft, five considerations SABERS focused on were safety, energy density, discharge rate, package design, and scalability. Essentially, these batteries need to be safe above all else. They also need to hold an enormous amount of power and emit that power efficiently. They should also have a slim and compact shape and be developed with the most detailed and thorough approach possible. “If” successful, the innovations could help enable power a new generation of automobiles and even future aircraft. After years of research by a NASA, the results are generating huge interest from government, industry, and academia. Battery performance is a key aspect in the development so these batteries must effectively store a huge amount of energy required to power an aircraft all while remaining lightweight – a key requirement in aviation. The amount of energy a battery can store is only one aspect of a vehicle’s energy storage design. A battery must also discharge at a rate sufficient to power the huge power requirements of a battery electric automobile, aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicle. To that end, SABERS has experimented with innovative new materials yet to be used in batteries, which have produced significant progress in power discharge. Within the past year, the NASA team has successfully increased their battery’s discharge rate by a reported factor of up to 50! The SABERS team’s solid-state architecture allowed them to reconfigure the batteries construction to save weight and increase the energy storage. Instead of housing each individual battery cell inside its own steel casing, as liquid batteries do, all the cells in SABERS’s battery can be stacked vertically inside one casing. SABERS has now demonstrated solid-state batteries that can power objects at 500 Wh/kg, almost double that of today’s best BEV battery some consider to be the Tesla 4680 at ~ 280 Wh/kg. SABERS researchers have tested their battery under different pressures and temperatures and have found it can operate in temperatures nearly twice as hot as Li-Ion batteries, without as much cooling technology. The research team is continuing to test it under even hotter conditions. SABERS has collaborated with several partners, including Georgia Tech, Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. For example, the collaboration with Georgia Tech allowed researchers to utilize some different methodologies in their work and discover how they can improve their battery for practical use. SABERS is part of the Convergent Aeronautics Solutions project, which is designed to give NASA researchers the resources they need to determine whether their ideas to solve some of aviation’s biggest technical challenges are feasible, and perhaps worthy of additional pursuit within NASA or by industry. The entire release is based on a prototype cell design as described. The big questions include will the cell and grouping of cells - battery packaging, be scalable? Will it have high enough charge and discharge (C) rates? Will it have the long-term longevity necessary for automotive application under a broad range of real-world conditions? Will it be cost effective for automotive use? As stated earlier, having read and reported on numerous technological battery and fuel breakthroughs in the past, not much has reached the road. Credits for the above go to NASA.