The need for advanced energy storage technologies is growing by the minute as new incredible developments in the field of electronics and renewable energy emerge continuously. The world on Earth (and beyond) is tired of waiting for the next best thing, so NASA has decided to put a full stop to this. The agency granted four innovative proposals with nearly $3.5 each to develop the ultimate energy storage technology.
NASA’s determination to prove to all that Mars can be an inhabitable environment is clear now. First it was Curiosity, the Mars rover that began exploring the red planet’s hidden treasures. Then came the announcement of the second rover that will carry incredible instruments, which resemble technologies taken from a science fiction movie. But all these have to be powered somehow, and MOXIE alone cannot do it.
This is why the Agency decided to call for proposals that will lead to the development of the ever-so-needed next generation advanced energy storage and power generating systems, which should be able to supply huge amounts of power to all these machines that will have to cover miles of uninhabited land.
The four winning proposals came from universities, NASA research centres and private industries and are seen as the technologies that will shape up the future of deep space exploration. The awards are given for a period of 3.5 years, within which the winning team has to go through three phases in order to receive the total of $3 250 000. The first phase has a duration of eight months, during which the components of the technology will be tested. This will be followed by phase two, which lasts 1 year when engineering developments will take place. The remaining 1.5 years should be spent on development of the prototype.
The winning proposals are:
1. Garnet Electrolyte Based Safe, Lithium-Sulfur Energy Storage, University of Maryland, College Park
2. High Energy Density and Long-Life Lithium-Sulfur Batteries for Aerospace Applications, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
3. Silicon Anode Based Cells for High Specific Energy Systems, Amprius, Inc, California
4. Advanced High Energy Rechargeable Lithium-Sulfur Batteries, Indiana University, Bloomington
Image (c) NASA