Improving automotive energy efficiency, vehicle reliability, conserving natural resources and reducing environmental impacts are regional and national strategic goals for many public and private organizations. These goals are reflected in the mission and vision statements of both NIATT and the UTC program. Additionally, it is apparent that as budgets shrink for public education, universities must become more sustainable and be more effective at transferring their technology to the marketplace.
The integrated battery project has the potential to meet the above goals and succeed. The integrated battery is the combination of a traditional electro-chemical battery with an ultracapacitor and digital power electronics. It can directly replace the lead acid battery sold in every automobile.
The integrated battery can
- Reduce environmental impacts associated with lead waste and packaging,
- Improve fuel economy through weight reduction and better charging efficiency,
- Compete economically with traditional lead acid batteries,
- Have more instantaneous starting power,
- Decrease vehicle maintenance requirements,
- Increase vehicle reliability, and
- Operate at extreme temperatures.
A lead acid battery does not last the life of a typical automobile, but are replaced and discarded multiple times throughout the span of a vehicle’s life. Over the years the infrastructure for recycling lead acid batteries has grown in developed countries and has helped to reduce environmental impacts. However, environmental impacts are significant when annual vehicle sales are on the order of 16 million units in the US alone. The market and environment are ready for an alternative to the flooded lead acid battery. The integrated battery is such an alternative. It has superior power performance, minimal detrimental effects at extreme temperatures, and an operating life order of magnitude longer than the flooded lead acid battery. The integrated battery can make a significant positive impact to the consumer, transportation energy resources, and the environment.
The integrated battery is the combination of a traditional electro-chemical battery with an ultracapacitor and digital power electronics. The pairing of these two energy storage devices provides the high power output of capacitors with the high-energy storage of batteries. Each device is accurately controlled for optimum performance and efficiency with minimal degradation.