Solid-State Ultracapacitor for Improved Energy Storage

Power Generation and Storage
Solid-State Ultracapacitor for Improved Energy Storage (MFS-TOPS-76)
Novel, solid-state, dielectric material greatly enhances capacitor performance
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has developed a solid-state ultracapacitor using a novel nanocomposite dielectric material. The dielectric material offers high capacitance and breakdown voltage in a robust design, thereby minimizing risks associated with liquid electrolytes used in conventional ultracapacitor designs. Processing methods developed by NASA provide unique dielectric properties at the microstructural level. Nanoscale raw materials are tailored using advance nanocoating techniques, and then blended into coating formulations. These formulations are used to coat/print capacitor layer structures per design requirements. The innovation is intended to replace range-safety batteries that NASA uses to power systems that destroy off-course rockets. A solid-state design provides the needed robustness and safety for this demanding application. Other applications where ultracapacitors are used may benefit as well.

The Technology
NASAs solid-state ultracapacitor technology is based on the novel materials design and processes used to make the IBLC-type ultracapacitor. The IBLC concept is known to provide outstanding capacitance behavior but has been difficult to reproduce. NASA has developed a careful process to produce dielectric materials to be used in printed electronic applications with reproducibility. An individual cell is created by building electrodes on each side of the dielectric layer, and complete modules can be constructed by stacking multiple cells. Closely related NASA innovations on dielectric and conductive ink (electrode) formulations are key to the ultracapacitor construct, and are included in the technology package. Target performance criteria of this technology include the following: &#8226 Use of standard materials and processing methods &#8226 Robust, solid-state device with no liquid electrolytes &#8226 High-energy densitytarget energy densities of 60 J/cc at a minimum operating voltage of 50 V &#8226 High dielectric breakdown strength (> 25 MV/m) &#8226 Excellent pulse-power performance; rapid discharge and charge &#8226 Reliable performance under repeated cycling (> 500,000 cycles) Additional development work is underway to build and test complete capacitor modules and further improve material properties and performance.
FIGURE  Methods to produce a single-layer capacitor prototype (A) are being
refined to produce multilayer capacitors (B). Multilayer capacitor cells can be
packaged (C) to improve capacitor energy storage.
  • Improved safety and robustness: &#8226 The solid-state design eliminates liquid/gel electrolytes that can explode in extreme thermal conditions. &#8226 The nonpolar design leads to lower failure rates and easier implementation.
  • Tunable properties for exceptional performance: &#8226 The dielectric voltage breakdown is greater than 250 V at thicknesses less than 30 microns (dielectric breakdown > 25 MV/m). &#8226 The energy storage density targets 60 J/cc, with tailorable packaging to meet board layout or circuit design parameters.
  • Standard materials and processing methods for lower cost manufacturing

  • Aerospace: space power and propulsion systems
  • Transportation: regenerative braking systems for cars, trucks, buses, and trains; batteries for hybrid and electric cars, as well as fuel cellpowered vehicles
  • Energy: smart grid and renewable energy
  • Defense: backup power supplies, laser weapons, and railguns
  • Health: medical devices
Technology Details

Power Generation and Storage
MFS-33115-1 MFS-33223-1 MFS-33228-1 MFS-33115-1-DIV
-Cortés-Peña, A. Y., T. D. Rolin, and C. W. Hill. A Novel Solid State Ultracapacitor. No. M17-6033. 2017.

-Zhang, L., Shan, X., Bass, P. et al. Process and Microstructure to Achieve Ultra-high Dielectric Constant in Ceramic-Polymer Composites. Sci Rep 6, 35763. 2016.
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