Regardless of power system configuration, batteries main task is decoupling the load supply from primary generation over dynamic operation. In addition, batteries have to assist system startup and assuring emergency backup. The main battery technologies considered for aerospace are Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA), Nickel-Cadmium (Ni-Cd) and Lithium-ion (Li-ion). The VRLA batteries have been developed to address the issues of traditional lead-acid batteries, but still suffer from low energy density and specific energy. On the other hand, they can handle high currents and have the lowest cost. Ni-Cd batteries were the most used in the late ‘80s due to high capacity, high charging rates and long life cycles compared to other available technologies. However, their main disadvantages, such as memory effect, high self-discharge, and toxicity of cadmium, limit their usage. Much better performances are guaranteed by Li-ion batteries, which are characterized by high energy density and specific energy, no memory effect, low self-discharge and low maintenance. Although Li-ion batteries are safer than other Lithium technologies, they still require complex and costly protection circuit.
The Department of Physics and Earth Sciences of the University of Ferrara, coordinates the consortium composed with the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) of Genoa and the University of Cagliari - Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and Genport.
GLITTERY is a 36-month project funded by the Italian Space Agency aimed at developing a next generation lithium-ion battery modules with nano-porous germanium anode overcoming the problem faced in aerospace applications. Developing innovative solutions to improve storage capacity and battery performance can be a technological leap that opens up new horizons in the space field and in numerous other areas of great commercial interest (electric vehicles, electronic devices, smartphones ...) .
In the GLITTERY project lithium ion batteries are developed containing a new concept anode, an idea within the framework of a consolidated collaboration between Italian partners.Initially, prototypes will be assembled and tested in coin-cell format, with the aim of acquiring the necessary skills for the construction of large-format case-type batteries. The validation of nano-porous germanium anode battery technology on this type of cell is to be considered an essential step to increase the Technology Readiness Level. A substantial part of the work will concern the development of electric and electrodynamic models, in order to design and build a battery pack complete with BMS (Battery Management System) with optimization controls. This battery pack will be tested in an extreme environment, at a low temperature and a thermal runaway.