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Nickel hydrogen batteries: An overviewThis paper on nickel hydrogen batteries is an overview of the various nickel hydrogen battery design options, technical accomplishments, validation test results and trends. There is more than one nickel hydrogen battery design, each having its advantage for specific applications. The major battery designs are individual pressure vessel (IPV), common pressure vessel (CPV), bipolar and low pressure metal hydride. State-of-the-art (SOA) nickel hydrogen batteries are replacing nickel cadmium batteries in almost all geosynchronous orbit (GEO) applications requiring power above 1 kW. However, for the more severe low earth orbit (LEO) applications (greater than 30,000 cycles), the current cycle life of 4000 to 10,000 cycles at 60 percent DOD should be improved. A LeRC innovative advanced design IPV nickel hydrogen cell led to a breakthrough in cycle life enabling LEO applications at deep depths of discharge (DOD). A trend for some future satellites is to increase the power level to greater than 6 kW. Another trend is to decrease the power to less than 1 kW for small low cost satellites. Hence, the challenge is to reduce battery mass,volume, and cost. A key is to develop a light weight nickel electrode and alternate battery designs. A common pressure vessel (CPV) nickel hydrogen battery is emerging as a viable alternative to the IPV design. It has the advantage of reduced mass, volume and manufacturing costs. A 10 Ah CPV battery has successfully provided power on the relatively short lived Clementine Spacecraft. A bipolar nickel hydrogen battery design has been demonstrated (15,000 LEO cycles, 40 percent DOD). The advantage is also a significant reduction in volume, a modest reduction in mass, and like most bipolar designs, features a high pulse power capability. A low pressure aerospace nickel metal hydride battery cell has been developed and is on the market. It is a prismatic design which has the advantage of a significant reduction in volume and a reduction in manufacturing cost.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Smithrick, John J.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Odonnell, Patricia M.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1994
Subject Category
Energy Production And Conversion
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:106795
AIAA PAPER 95-0026
Meeting Information
Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit(Reno, NV)
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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