Silver-Oxide/Zinc Battery Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) Tool

Navy SBIR 24.1 - Topic N241-031
NAVSEA - Naval Sea Systems Command
Pre-release 11/29/23   Opens to accept proposals 1/03/24   Now Closes 2/21/24 12:00pm ET    [ View Q&A ]

N241-031 TITLE: Silver-Oxide/Zinc Battery Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) Tool

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Microelectronics

OBJECTIVE: Develop a man-portable Battery Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) tool for assessing health status and remaining useful battery life of Silver-Oxide/Zinc (AgO/Zn) batteries to provide a cost savings while increasing safety and readiness.

DESCRIPTION: AgO/Zn battery cells are safe for use onboard submarines and are a field-proven power source for underwater vehicles with a wet-life of about 24 months. One of the main challenges associated with deployment of AgO/Zn battery cells is the lack of a reliable and accurate way to measure the battery’s state of charge, state of health and remaining useful life at any stage of application/in-situ. Currently, the AgO/Zn battery (up to 120 cells in series) set assembled with 365 ampere hour (Ahr) capacity is de-commissioned based on the pre-determined wet-life duration instead of cell state-of-health due to a lack of commercial ability to assess state-of-health without extensive analysis or destructive testing. This results in potentially healthy batteries being removed from service before the end of useful life. The Navy is seeking a man-portable (preferably hand-held or laptop installed) Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) tool that can detect early signs of battery degradation and predict the remaining useful life of AgO/Zn batteries, other, application and scalability to additional battery chemistries are also desired.

A TMDE tool would result in cost reduction, risk reductions, and better sustainment of fleet underwater vehicles by removing batteries from fleet once a ‘true’ End of Service Life was met based on battery condition versus timed maintenance. It would achieve these benefits by allowing maintenance activities to provide requisite Objective Quality Evidence (OQE) to determine life extensions, informing maintainers of the real-time battery conditions that indicate a thermal event, allowing operators and maintainers to make more informed and safer decisions, and enable targeted replacement of weak cells in a battery set instead of replacing the entire battery set. The latter would increase the life of a battery set, thereby reducing the amount of battery sets needed to be purchased and increasing operational availability. The former would reduce schedule risks when planning and conducting operations.

The tool developed must be non-destructive and user-friendly with a graphical user interface (GUI) to display metrics to accurately describe battery condition. It should utilize advanced sensor technologies to assess the state-of-health and remaining useful life of AgO/Zn battery sets prior to deployment, transport, maintenance, or storage. If the device is handheld, it should be battery powered by 20VDC or less, and rechargeable using standard 110VAC.

PHASE I: Develop a concept for a portable Battery Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment tool that meets the requirements in the Description. Establish feasibility by developing system diagrams as well as Computer-Aided Design (CAD) models that show the tool’s design concept, and provide estimated weight and dimensions of the concept. Feasibility will also be established by computer-based simulations that show the system’s capabilities are suitable for the Navy’s needs. The Phase I Option, if exercised, will include the initial design specifications and capabilities description to build a prototype solution in Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop and fabricate a prototype for demonstration and characterization of key parameters of the TDME tool as detailed in the Description. Conduct a prototype demonstration capable of full-scale operation according to the design. Complete relevant testing to prove the full-scale metrics. Based on lessons learned through the prototype demonstration, develop a substantially complete design to allow for Navy integration. Ensure that this design includes all ancillary equipment required to operate components such as the TMDE tool and control software when applicable to the proposed concept.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Support the Navy in transitioning the technology for Navy use. Although a fully operational TMDE tool is initially targeted for use in maintenance and sustainment of underwater vehicles, it should have the ability to support additional battery chemistries and be suitable for shipboard use.

The TMDE tool could be useful in commercial applications where safe, high energy density batteries are used. Examples would be oceanography, offshore oil rig inspection, UAVS, and robotics.

REFERENCES:

  1. Love, Corey T. et al. "State-of-health monitoring of 18650 4S packs with a single-point impedance diagnostic". Journal of Power Sources 266 (2014) S12-S19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2014.05.033
  2. Klotz, D. et al. "New approach for the calculation of impedance spectra out of time domain data". Electrochimica Acta 56 (2011) 8763-8769. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.electacta.2011.07.096
  3. Davies, Greg, et al. "State of Charge and State of Health Estimation Using Electrochemical Acoustic Time of Flight Analysis". Journal of The Electrochemical Society 164 (2017) A2746. https://doi.org/10.1149/2.1411712jes
  4. Merla, Yu, et al. "Novel application of differential thermal voltammetry as an in-depth state-of-health diagnosis method for lithium-ion batteries" Journal of Power Sources 307 (2016) 308-319. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2015.12.122
  5. Li, Ran; Yao, Jie and Zhou, Yongqin. "Study of sorting method of zinc silver battery based on multi-step FCM clustering algorithm". IEICE Electronics Express 16, no. 7 (2019): 20190120-20190120 https://doi.org/10.1587/elex.16.20190120

KEYWORDS: Silver-Oxide/Zinc Battery; Battery/Cell State-of-Health; Electrical Test Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Tool; Non-destructive battery testing; Battery State of Health Estimation Experimental Methods, Battery State of Health Model-Based Estimation Me


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The DoD issued its Navy 24.1 SBIR Topics pre-release on November 28, 2023 which opens to receive proposals on January 3, 2024, and now closes February 21, (12:00pm ET).

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Topic Q & A

1/17/24  Q. 1. Are individual cells accessible electrically? If yes, what is the current capacity of existing connections? If no, what is the form factor of cell electrodes and the available physical space to make connections? Is this uniform for all cells or varies with cell location within the battery pack?
2. Is a battery management system (BMS) used to track performance of individual cells or the overall battery pack? Having temporal data of cell voltages and temperatures in response to charging/discharging current would enable efficient identification of cells in need of maintenance. If not available for the cells, is it available for the battery pack perhaps from another system?
3. What is currently being done with battery packs removed from service? A full charge discharge cycle with recordings of individual cell voltages and temperatures would provide useful insights into the degradation based on the unit's service life.
   A. 1. Cells are accessible electrically and strapped together with bus bars with allen bolts holding the bus bars to the cell terminal. Cells are packaged in identical battery modules that are assembled for the battery pack.
2. No BMS is used. One battery has individual cell monitoring while the older battery does not.
3. No additional cycling is done on battery pack, modules or cells when removed from service.
1/16/24  Q. Would the battery TDME tool be intended for primary or secondary AgO/Zn batteries?
   A. Secondary AgO/Zn batteries.
1/3/24  Q. Can you please provide the pdfs of the references? Many require a subscription to obtain.
   A. Requesting the writer for a PDF to read their article can lead to a free copy, or the PDFs can be purchased from the sciencedirect website through the persistent links using digital object identifiers provided in the SBIR topic.

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