DENVER—The high-energy lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries that were launched into orbit on June 20 aboard the SpaceX Transporter-2 rideshare mission featured technologies that allow the batteries to survive longer and perform better across a variety of metrics, Forge Nano said in a release. One of the technologies, Forge Nano’s Particle Atomic Layer Deposition (PALD) technology, was developed by the company’s founders while they were studying at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The lithium-ion batteries, which also featured Enersys Zero Volt™ technology, were integrated into Spire Global®, Inc.’s LEMUR-2 satellite. They used “100 percent domestically sourced electrode materials from Pyrotek® and Forge Nano®,” according to the release.
Forge Nano is a developer of surface engineering and precision nano-coating technology. The company works with firms across the globe to enhance their materials with PALD, reported to be applicable and cost-effective for most cathodes, anodes, separators, and solid-state battery materials.
“This is the first ALD-enabled space battery we know of and it’s mostly made with U.S. materials!” said Paul Lichty, CEO of Forge Nano, in the release. “As world leaders in battery materials, we’re excited to be pushing limits of performance for various applications, including space. This partnership with EnerSys, Pyrotek, and Spire Global is just one of many commercial battery projects we’re working on, and we look forward to sharing these other projects with the world soon.”
The battery cells that were sent into space incorporated domestically-sourced anode material from Pyrotek, headquartered in Spokane, Washington, and cathode material from Forge Nano. Both electrode materials used Forge Nano’s PALD coatings and combined with EnerSys ZeroVolt technology to enhance cycle life stability, energy density, and low temperature performance. The batteries will be electrically cycled in-orbit at specific depth-of-discharge (DOD) levels to determine their electrical performance in a space environment as part of the battery qualification process, according to the release.
“By integrating the various parties’ technologies into Spire’s LEMUR-2 satellite, we are able to gather relevant performance data in a spaceflight application and advance the use of this technology more broadly within the space industry.” said Keith E. Johnson, vice president and general manager, federal, at Spire Global, Inc., in the release.
Mark Matthews, senior vice president, specialty-global at EnerSys, said, “These new U.S.-made batteries pave the way for a fully integrated U.S. battery supply chain at a critical time in the domestication of the battery industry.”