Together with the R&D activity in the military field, for some years Defence Systems Division has also carried out an important activity in the civil field, particularly focusing its attention on the “Dual-Use technologies”, that can be profitably used in both sectors.
One of the most important results that has been achieved by Defence Systems Division in this sector is certainly the development of a “Large Lithium Polymer Battery” based on Lithium-Polymer cells (Li-Po), capable of supplying very high energy and power values. The battery has been designed for the propulsion of underwater vehicles (both for the defence and civil sectors), however it can be perfectly used for many “energy storage” purposes, like for instance the energy storage in photovoltaic systems or wind generators, the propulsion of naval means, electric buses and other hybrid or pure electrical transport means, etc.
The development of the battery has required more than two years. Due to the large quantity of stored energy in the battery (52 kWh, equal to the household energy need of an average family for about 5 days) it has been necessary to carry out in-depth theoretical studies and experimental activities in order to assure its full safety under any employment conditions. Therefore, theoretical studies have been carried out regarding the thermal and electric modelling of the Li-Po cell and the whole battery and also many cell characterization practical tests, tests of discharges at various levels, etc. Special attention has been paid to the safety tests that also included complex inspections in order to certify the system safety even in the presence of unexpected “illegal events”, like for example the crushing of the battery of an electric car in case of violent crash.
Thanks to the perfect results obtained in this project, that ended in 2013, Defence Systems Division has decided to start working in the Energy Storage civil field with a more systematic and complete approach and it has therefore started to develop a modular battery with Lithium-Iron-Phosphate cells, that allows to rapidly fit the most diverse needs with minimum project changes. The modular battery is presently being developed and will be ready for marketing at the beginning of 2015.