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NASA's Solid-Stated Battery Has Twice the Energy Density of Tesla's Best Cells

NASA is mostly associated with rocket science and moon landings, but the agency is much deeper in all science fields. Their SABERS project aiming to develop safer Li-Ion solid-state batteries for aviation has just achieved a breakthrough.
NASA’s solid-stated battery has twice the energy density of Tesla’s best cells 6 photos
NASA’s solid-stated battery has twice the energy density of Tesla’s best cellsNASA’s solid-stated battery has twice the energy density of Tesla’s best cellsNASA’s solid-stated battery has twice the energy density of Tesla’s best cellsNASA’s solid-stated battery has twice the energy density of Tesla’s best cellsNASA’s solid-stated battery has twice the energy density of Tesla’s best cells
NASA research doesn’t cover only outer space but also the Earth and everything around it. Aviation, in particular, has received a lot of attention from the space agency, which developed new technologies and procedures for the safe operation of aircraft, among other things. Recent talks of sustainability brought further studies to develop better batteries for the aviation sector. These need to be lighter and safer than the batteries widely used in electric vehicles and electronics today.

Enter Solid-state Architecture Batteries for Enhanced Rechargeability and Safety (SABERS) research, already showing promising results. After years of research, NASA’s solid-state battery has reached an important milestone, hitting an energy density of 500 Wh/kg. This is almost double what best EV batteries, including Tesla’s, currently achieve. For instance, Tesla’s 4680 cells have around 300 Wh/kg energy density.

To achieve this result, NASA’s team used revolutionary packaging, which allowed it to shed most of the battery’s weight. Unlike regular batteries, which connect individually-packaged cells, SABERS’ batteries stack solid-state cells on top of one another within one single casing. By eliminating the individual cell packaging, NASA reduced battery weight by 30-40% and doubled the energy density.

It’s not the only advantage, as the team claims its solid-state battery can withstand temperatures twice as high as current Li-Ion cells in electric vehicles. This is a boon for aviation, which has higher safety standards than automotive. NASA is currently testing its battery for continued performance at even higher temperatures and pressures, pushing the limits of the technology.

Electric-propelled aircraft and NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility project are the main beneficiaries of the new battery technology. NASA’s SUbsonic Single Aft eNgine (SUSAN) team, working toward developing an advanced hybrid-electric concept aircraft, has also shown interest in the new type of battery. Having safer batteries is also increasingly important for electric vehicles, considering the battery fires caused by hurricane Ian’s floodings in Florida.

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