September 14, 2017

Australia (with US cooperation) Active in LIBs Research for Submarines

Thermal runaway in Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) in submarines 
 has been a serious problem as US testing in November 2008 (see below) revealed. The above artwork concerns destructive phases through heat buildup in LIBs in hearing aids. (Courtesy Hearing Health & Technology Matters)
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Many countries (from Europe to Northeast Asia and the US) are carrying out Lithium-ion Battery (LIB) research for submarines.

Australia is also active in research on LIBs for submarines. Australia’s Department of Defence’s multi-faceted research organisation, the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group is active in LIB safety research. 

In one of the activities DST's Defence researcher, Kane Ivory, is establishing DST’s LIB Safety Research Facility - on DST's website see an article Powering the Future of Submarine Fleets of 

The US Navy and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) had bad experiences with LIBs way back in November 2008 under the now cancelled Advanced SEAL Delivery Vehicle (ASDS) program. The prototype (ASDS-1) "was having its lithium-ion batteries charged Nov. 9 when an explosion started a battery fire that burned for about six hours. No one was aboard the 60-ton craft, which was on shore at its base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii...The incident came at a key time for the [ASDS] mini-sub program. The ASDS was to have deployed in November [on top of] the guided-missile submarine [USS Michigan (SSGN-727)] — the first SSGN deployment for the [ASDS mini-sub]." 

As well as LIBs for mini-subs and UUVs the US Navy may want to eventually use LIBs as backup batteries in nuclear submarines. 

US-Australian cooperation in defence research is revealed by a US Navy document regarding Ken Ivory’s secondment, in 2016 to the US, under the Engineer and Scientist Exchange Program (ESEP). The US document indicates:


"Kane is here working with us on understanding how that safety program works and the types of tests and approaches to testing we have to see what is applicable to Australia," Fuentevilla said. "One common area of interest for Australia and the United States is early fault detection for lithium battery failures. Normal battery management systems will detect a fault or failure as it's happening, but not necessarily with sufficient time to prevent system-level hazards. We're looking at technologies that would provide additional early warning so that you can effectively implement hazard mitigation solutions to prevent a small problem from becoming a bigger problem."

Pete

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

In development of new materials or divices, assessment through various tests is needed prior to use them. If there is somewhat insight into degradation mechanism of materials or device, accelerated test under sevre conditions such as elevated temperature, high pressure, and strong mechanical stress, etc is conducted. But, for perfect establishment of safety, non accelerated test under normal condition, which is really time-consuming, is conducted. Acquisition, Technology & Logistic Agency (ATLA) of Japan is conducting continuous vibration test of LIBs for submarine.

Capital investment for testing of LIBs may suggest shortfin being LIB-submarine. But, I think its development takes time.

Regards

Tri-ring said...

The biggest problem with LIB is during constant charge/discharge the Lithium within the electrolyte crystallizes like a stalagmite from the cathode and ruptures the separator at end reaches the anode creating a short circuit with a large explosive discharge.
Various laboratories and research centers are doing research to mitigate the problem with various hopeful solutions BUT stress the hopeful part since they still need many tests.
This stalagmite like crystal develops faster when you try to charge to full capacity and/or discharge to zero. This was the initial problem with the B787 in which the French company that designed the recharge system was not familiar with this problem.

Tri-ring said...

The phenomenon is called Lithium plating and is also the reason of lowering of battery charge amount through aging.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous

I agree that tests of LIBs under actual submarine operational conditions are essential.

I would say several Departments (?) of Japanese MoD's Acquisition, Technology & Logistic Agency (ATLA) http://www.mod.go.jp/atla/en/soshiki.html would continue to test different apects of LIBs.

Yes. I don't think the Australian Future Submarine Selection Team would have advertised LIBs on Shortfin to a sufficient extent to make it an option for Shortfins 1 to 3. Perhaps Shortfins 4 to 6 OR the next production run of Shortfins 7 to 12 will have LIBs.

Before Naval Group and TKMS adopt LIBs they will be looking at the success or failure of LIBs on Soryus very closely.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Operational temparture of LIBs for ships in Japan is within range of 10-45 C to prevent from lithium plating. As TKMS, Naval Group and MHI/KHI adopt different LIBs, safety of LIBs of one builder does not always mean safety of others.

Regards

Tri-ring said...

Sorry but high temperature is not the cause of Lithium plating low temperature is.
The two simplest ways to avoid lithium plating is to prevent over voltage (above 4.2 volts per cell) during charging, and charging and discharging at low temperature (below 15⁰C).
As for thermal runaways, they have made big strides in material science, one of them is a ceramic separator that has much higher resistance against heat.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Tri-ring and Anonymous

Thanks for your comments.

I'm still trying to understand the basic operation of LIBs. In that respect I've found https://youtu.be/kqR7MihP5k4

Here is what looks like an excellent explanation of Lithium Plating and Overheating http://www.mpoweruk.com/lithium_failures.htm

LIB problems and advantages are subjects Sub Matters will return to often.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) and Lithium Titanate (LTO) show exceptional low temperature stability and long cycle lives (2000 and 7000 cylces). One of their weak points is low energy density.

As these LIBs are suitable for operation at low temperature, cold countries may appreciate them than other types of LIBs. Future Russian convensional submarine may equip LFPs or their analogue, because LFPs show good low temperature stability in the Baltic Sea or the Arctic Ocean in winter. Canada may think so.

Regards

Tri-ring said...

Here is an interesting research in countering Lithium plating.
Don't understand the details on how it works but I believe it is worth doing further research if it works as the author claims.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-00519-2

Anonymous said...

With SSN, SSGN or SSBN, it is unclear why one needs to replace LAB with LIB. LAB is well proven. Yes, the risks associated with LIB can be engineered and mitigated but not eliminated. Besides, a N-reactor is not exactly something that can be shut off like a light bulb.
KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 18/9/17 10:33 PM]

I'm now back from Canberra :)

Your comments on:

- Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) 2,000 cycles (maybe good for the Russian and Canadian SSKs that operate in low temperature environments including surface docked at minus 30 degrees Celsius and minus 2 degrees C submerged) and

- Lithium Titanate (LTO) 7000 cycles show exceptional low temperature stability and long cycle lives (2000 and ).

Their "low" energy density and other characteristics are displayed in the lower 2 graphs at Figures 1. of http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/archive/is_li_ion_the_solution_for_the_electric_vehicle
At Figure 1. LFP rates lower on "Performance" but much better on "Cost".

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Thanks Tri-ring [at 19/9/17 3:11 PM]

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-00519-2 is indeed interesting - especially Figure 3.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [at 22/9/17 10:53 AM]

Yes LIBs would need to prove their operational reliability and safety before use as backup for nuclear powered submarines nuke propelled subs.

Note my research on China possibly contemplating using Chinese Everspring LIBs on SSBNs. See http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/china-into-lithium-ion-batteries-libs.html

It would also depend on whether (post reactor shutdown) the captain then made the decision to emergency surface the nuke sub and whether the diesel engine backups would then be used.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...


Hi Pete

I do not think LIBs are discharged homogeneously. Numbers of charge/discharge of each LIB during surveillance might be reduced as follows: i) half of LIBs in fore battery section are used for 1st submerge and are charged in snorkeling, ii) another half of LIBs in fore battery section are used for 2nd submerge and are charged in snorkeling, iii) half of LIBs in aft battery section are used for 3rd submerge and are charged in snorkeling and iv) another half of LIBs in aft battery section are used for 4th submerge and are charged in snorkeling.

Regards

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 26/9/17 12:08 AM]

The management of LIBs (in phases around the submarine) is certainly more complicated than I imagined.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Management/operation (M/O) system of batteries/propulsion of J-submarine is shown in 1-3. In Oyashio, classical DC motors make speed control of submarine complex under limited capacity of LABs. In Soryu MK I, latest Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors (PMSMs) make speed control of submarine easier, but management of two power supply systems (LABs and AIP) is complex. Soryu MK II adopts simplest M/O system among Japanese submarines.

1 Oyashio

LABs: fore and aft sections consisted of 2 identical subsections, respectively
M/O of LABs: parallel or series conection of LABs in section/subsection
Proplution: 2 identical DC motors

2 Soryu MK I

LABs: fore and aft sections consisted of 2 identical subsections, respectively
Stirling AIP
M/O of LABs: unknown
Proplution: smaller and bigger AC motors; smaller one is for low speed

3 Soryu MK II (estimation)

LIBs: fore and aft sections consisted of 2 identical subsections, respectively
M/O of LIBs: unknown
Proplution: 2 idntical AC motors

Regards


Peter Coates said...

Thanks Anonymous

I'll use the information in your 26/9/17 12:08AM and your 27/9/17 6:11AM for an article next week.

Regards

Pete