February 13, 2017

China may be adopting Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) for Submarine


It is possible China's 335 kg WB-LYP10000AHA Lithium-ion Battery (LIB) is being developed for (or already in) China's latest built Yuan class submarines. China is also marketing this battery to Russia (presumably for Russian Kalina submarine) and to other countries.
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The Yuan class diesel-electric submarine. Most Yuans probably have Stirling AIP (and almost certainly standard lead-acid batteries). The latest Yuans being contructed may have LIBs.
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The Japanese Navy (JMSDF) appears to be the first navy that will openly and operationally use Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs). However China is likely to have carried out extensive trialling and assessment of LIBs mainly on converted Song class submarines. China might also be testing LIBs on Yuan class submarines instead of or in addition to the Yuan's Stirling AIP. New Yuans, under construction, may have LIBs.

China's Winston Battery company (aka "Everspring" and "Thunder Sky") might be  developing Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) for submarines. Alternatively Winston might merely be marketing the idea (see) of LIBs for submarine, to attract foreign joint ventures. Russia may be a direct joint venturer. Swedish, French or German firms may be participating  (through the European dual-use loophole) in joint ventures assisting China to develop LIBs for submarine. 


Chinese marketing of LIBs at: "Winston Battery WB-LYP10000AHA in large submarines" states at 

"The technical information gives some ideas about the size of the battery pack for the Yuan-class of diesel-electric submarines to be equipped with an air-independent propulsion system (AIP) powered from large battery banks. 

The battery pack consists of 960 pcs of the WB-LYP10000AHA  cells making the total energy of 31 MWh. The lithium battery is saving some 260 tons of weight against the original lead-acid pack. With this pack the Yuan-class (B-class) diesel-electric submarine can drive 3,300 nautical miles or it can stay under water for 800 hours (33 days). This indicates the average onboard consumption of the submarine when not moving is some 38kW/h. Posted 2 years ago.

On possible Russian development of LIBs for submarine see Submarine Matters China into Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) for Submarine - Can Russia Keep Up? of February 2, 2016.

Pete

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Based on various informations, hotel load and input of propulsion motor at 4knot/h is very roughly estitimated to be 150kW and 60kW, respectively. Then, total energy consumed in a day is 5MWh (= (150kW+60kW)*24h*1MW/1kW). In this case, submarine with energy of 31MW can submerge for 6days (=31MWh/5MWh*1day).

In the current technology level, submarine equipped with fuel cell can achieve 30 days-submerge at low speed.

Regards

MHalblaub said...

Dear Anonymous,
the reason why even the second batch of Type 212A skipped Lithium batteries is obviously:
6 days vs 30 days (according to my knowledge 18 days for Type 212A - still 3 times more without ruining the batteries by completely discharging them).

The latest batch of Type 212A has only 2 fuel cells providing 240 kW together. For 18 days this would be a total energy of 100 MWh or 3 times as much as the LiBs. So I guess your estimation of 6 days is close.

The expansion with "1 MW / 1 kW" is a factor of 1000 and not 1/1000. Your equation would be correct without the factor. It would be easier to understand (0.15 MW/h + 0.06 MW/h).

Hotel load was mentioned to be 0.038 MW/h.
With estimated speed of 4 kn 3,300 nm would need a time to travel of more than 34 days. According to the source mentioned above the power requirement for the propeller to drive the submarine has to be even lower than the hotel load? Traveling without hotel load?

Capacity is about 200 Wh/kg LiBs
or about 155 t batteries for 31 MWh.
With just 50 Wh/kg for LeadAcid batteries 600 t. Just 260 t saved? 155 t+ 260 t would be just 21 MWh. So the old Chinese submarines could stay for 20 days submerged?

Something doesn't add up here.

And finally, without more engine power a submarine still needs the same time snorkeling to recharge the batteries.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Correction (14/2/17 10:10 AM) 5MWh (= (150kW+60kW)*24h*1MW/1kW) -> 5MWh (= {(150kW+60kW)*24h}/1000).

Specification of WB-LYP10000AHA http://en.winston-battery.com/index.php/products/power-battery/item/wb-lyp10000aha
is as follows: weight (335kg), nominal capacity (10000Ah), size (367x687x765mm), and operation voltage at discharge (2.8V).

Energy of WB-LYP10000AHA is 10000Ah*2.8V=28kWh, volume-metric energy density is 147Wh/l (=28kWh/(367x687x765mm), and mass-metric energy density is 78Wh/kg (=28kW h/335kg).

Regards

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Weight of LABs for Yuan (LABs) is estimated to 580ton (= 335kg*960pcs+260ton). Because Soryu which is 25% (in volume) bigger than Yuan equips with much less LABs (422 ton) and buoyancy of submarine is small, I do not think Yuan equips with LABs of 580ton.

Possible model of Yuan (AIP+LIBs) is shortfin-Soryu which equips with half amount of liquid oxygen in Soryu. In this case, model submarine may submerge for 11days (7 days for AIP and 4 days for LIBs), and AIP is actually useless equipment.

I think importance of Yuan (AIP+LIBs) is not its performance, it but is effort of China to develop technology. Later or sooner, China will provide much better submarine.

Regards

Anonymous said...

We know from Chinese publications that China type 039 has less battery endurance than Russia type 636M.
KQN

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

According to an ex-commander of submarine, tactics of submarine after shooting torpedo is to escape as fast as possible, say “deeper and faster”. Another submariner says the maximum silent speed is around 15knot/h.

LIBs-submarine can maintain the maimum silent speed for 3times longer than LABs-submarine expnading the seach range by enemy to 9 times (3*3=9). Adoption of LIBs provides significant reduction of possibility to be dectedted after shooting torpedo. AIP does not contribute to the maximum silent speed because of its low output. Adoption

High cost and difficulty in development are main obstacles to spread of LIBs technology, and money-minded government will hestate adoption of LIBs.

Regards

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 15/2/17 9:30 AM]

The secrecy China has placed around Yuan submarine propulsion makes it difficult to estimate:

- what types of propulsion ((LABs or LIBs) + AIP) are being used, and

- what the weight of propulsion machinery, batteries and propellant (diesel, LOX and hydrogen) are being used.

As you imply China may be using its latest launched Yuans as propulsion testbeds. New propulsion combinations might only be used operationally in not-yet-built Yuans or China's next SSK class.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN

With "Chinese publications [indicating] that China type 039 has less battery endurance than Russia type 636M.'

it is diffficult to know whether Chinese 039s (Songs) have significantly fewer tons of batteries or 039s batteries are less efficient bateries than batteries in Improved Kilos for export (636Ms).

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 16/2/17 2:41 PM]

From what you say LIBs look more efficient in a torpedo firing battle. I wonder if Japanese companies might be prepared to sell (for high prices) LIBs for submarine to European submarine makers?

This is noting Sweden sold Stirling AIP for Soryus to Japan many years ago.

Regards

Pete

MHalblaub said...

Dear Anonymous,

the tactic to shoot and run is necessary with loud torpedo ejection systems and loud running torpedoes with a piston engine e.g. MK48 on a short copper wire. Also a loud and fat SSN needs to run. Maybe your source was an SNN commander. Not necessary with all electric torpedoes either ejected by water ram system or by slowly running engines in case the ejection system does not work.

Your enemy will only know after the first attack that there is a submarine somewhere within 50 km but that is a waste of space to search ~ 15,000 square km (at economic speeds range for DM2A4 is 140 km). A German Navy blog once mentioned an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer running directly over a type 212A submarine without noticing it. The submarine played by the exercise book and was not beneath the thermocline to give the US crew a chance at all. Hiding beneath the thermocline will also blind the submarine from what's going on. Reload and attack the rest while enemy is shocked locking at an aircraft carrier or LPD going down.

Your LIB submarine can run 3 times longer but how long can the LIB submarine then stay submerged? Maybe on day more without power and than start praying.
With an AIP you shout down all unnecessary systems and start halving rations for the crew.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete [16/2/17 4:58 PM]

There are two main juridical constraints (“Industrial Property Law”, “Defense Equipment Relocation Three Principles [1]”) in export project of LIBs for submarine.

In the case of LIBs (of Soryu) developed by Ministry of Defense (MOD), MOD consigned R&D to private sectors such as GS YUASA and industrial property of LIBs belongs to Japanese government not GS YUASA. In the case of LIBs developed by the private sector, industrial property of LIBs belongs to the private sector.

Both cases shall satisfy provisions of Defense Equipment Relocation Three Principle and shall be approved by National Security Councile (NSC) [1].

[1] http://www.mofa.go.jp/press/release/press22e_000010.html
[2]NCS consists of four main members (PM (Chairman), Chief Sectretry of Cabinet, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Defense) and others.

Regards

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

LIBs is recharged by combustion of diesel whose energy density is four times bigger than methanol, and does not need oxydiser whose consumption controls submerge period of fuel cell submarine. In long surveillance, LIBs shows superity to fuel cells because oxydiser depletes.

Regards


Anonymous said...

CEP excruded German submarine because objective data demonstraed its noisiness. If inconsistent conclusions of both US and CEP are right, what does it mean? I do not know, but something is wrong.




MHalblaub said...

Dear Anonymous 17/2/17 2:21 PM,
the chemical energy density is just the point where the energy transfer to the propeller starts. Diesel is burned inside an engine driving a generator. The energy is stored in the batteries and than provided to the electric motor. Each step has an energy conversion loss.
Diesel to mechanical power ~ 50 %
Mechanical to electric ~ 95 %
Electric to battery storage ~ 95 % (for lead acid - for LIBs even lower 90 % or less!)
So the efficiency is just around 45 % (~ 40 % LIB)

Fuel cell provide power at request at 80 % power to the electric engine.

The fuel cells still provide far longer continuous submerged operation times than LIBs. Can you imagine a fuel cell AIP submarine with LIBs?

Regards,
MHalblaub

MHalblaub said...

Dear Anonymous 18/2/17 7:45,

the noisiness was related to a certain frequency. The noise data was provided the TKMS for the envisioned submarine. Australia received this information and didn't ask anything further until the decision. Then the government stated the German submarine was to load. That did anger TKMS because CEP did not demand such noise limits. TKMS also said it would have been possible to reduce this noise in case it was desired by the costumer.

That was just lousy exclaim why the selected the DCNS solution. In case the Short Fin won't work there is the Suffren/Barracuda-class submarine nuclear powered submarine. We will see when Australian government will detect a vast of problems to switch to the "cheaper" nuclear solution...

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete and MHalblaub (18/2/17 10:01 PM)

As tender condition is the same for every contenders, CEP did not demand noise limit forJapan, too. But, Japan was not pointed out noisiness.

Regards

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete and MHalblaub (18/2/17 10:01 PM)

Fuel cell AIP submarine with LIBs is good selection, if it is realised. Currently, no realization program of this submarine is reported.

Regards