Electro Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: EEEI), a provider of advanced battery technologies, announced a contract award from Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) for technology development of Very High Specific Energy Battery Cells for use in the company's High Altitude Airship (HAATM ) program.
Lockheed contracted Electro Energy to develop an advanced, light-weight, rechargeable lithium ion battery to help power the HAA. Under the contract, EEEI will incorporate advanced materials into their bipolar wafer cell technology with the objective to achieve improved battery "specific energy" -- or energy per unit mass.
Lockheed Martin describes the HAA as an unmanned, lighter-than-air vehicle that will operate above the jet stream in a quasi-geostationary position to deliver persistent station keeping as a surveillance platform, telecommunications relay, or a weather observer. The HAA will provide an array of communication and navigation services for both civilian and military purposes. This concept takes lighter-than-air vehicles into a realm that gives users capabilities on par with satellites at a fraction of the cost. In position, the 500 foot long by 150 foot diameter airship would survey a 600-mile diameter area. Lighter-than-air vehicles, operating at altitudes above controlled airspace under the control of a manned ground station, give users the flexibility to change payload equipment, when the airship returns to its operational base, to perform different tasks.
Lockheed Martin is currently in the contract's third phase, prototype build and flight demonstration, awarded by the Missile Defense Agency (MDA). The MDA’s performance goals for the prototype HAA include sustained operations for approximately one month, above 60,000 feet, while providing power to a payload for military use.
EEI's Bipolar batteries use a unique and patented flat wafer cell design allowing the cells to be made in any shape and are therefore applicable to a wide variety of military and commercial applications. Wafer cells are stacked one on top of another to create multi-cell batteries with the required energy capacity and voltage for a given application.
As the current flows perpendicular to the contact surfaces in this technology, the current path is short and demonstrates exceptionally low resistance compared to traditional battery flow, which in turn, offers benefits such as simpler and lower heating during battery recharge and discharge. The travel time of the current through the cell and the subsequent battery pack or module is also much faster than in traditional battery design.
Electro Energy Inc., headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut, was founded in 1992 to develop, manufacture and commercialize unique bi-polar battery technology designed to advance current nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium ion (Li-ion) battery chemistries. They claim that their patented bipolar batteries are cheaper, lighter, more efficient, longer lasting, and have a greater range of application than any other batteries currently on the market.