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NASA Shares Developments in Solid-State Battery R&D Effort

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NASA’s initiative to study and develop a solid-state battery pack for use in aviation has met initial research goals and may soon be tested on a large vehicle.

The Solid-state Architecture Batteries for Enhanced Rechargeability and Safety project, which was launched last year, has drawn the interest of various organizations within and outside the space agency because of its promising results, NASA said Friday.

The experimental solid-state battery is made mostly of sulfur and selenium instead of lithium ions, forgoing the need for encasings to separate its cells when they are stacked vertically. 

NASA noted the SABERS team was able to make the battery’s discharge rate up to 50 times higher and power objects at 500 watt-hours per kilogram – double the capacity of an electric car. The group also found that the device has almost two times higher temperature tolerance than lithium-ion batteries despite limited cooling technology.

For the second year of the study, researchers will branch out into smaller partnerships with organizations such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Argonne National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to further develop the energy storage device and meet energy and safety requirements.

SABERS is one of the efforts under NASA’s aeronautics organization to achieve its sustainable aviation goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.