Current and Next-Generation Energy Storage Devices for Micro Vehicle Applications 2011-01-2627
The range and duration of micro vehicles, and in particular, micro aerial vehicles, is significantly restricted due to the limitations of available on-board energy storage devices. The number and type of energy storage units that can be housed in the vehicle structures is significantly limited by the demanding voltage and power requirements and stringent size and weight constraints of the vehicle. While most commercial and developmental vehicle platforms currently utilize commercial-off-the-shelf lithium polymer batteries for their energy storage needs, endurance times are limited to minutes and high discharge rates and dynamic electrical loads limit battery life.
Recently, researchers have demonstrated the ability to produce lightweight, flexible energy storage devices based on nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes and graphene. Due to their low mass, small size, and high energy storage potential, carbon nanomaterial-based energy storage devices are excellent candidates for use in micro vehicle applications. Because the performance of these prototypical devices is still limited, a significant amount of research must first be conducted before these energy storage devices can be incorporated into a micro vehicle platform. This work will examine existing energy storage devices in the context of micro vehicle applications, review recent advances in energy storage technologies, and discuss how these technologies may affect future micro vehicle design and performance.