HAPSMobile and APB Collaborate to Develop High Energy Density Batteries
HAPSMobile and APB Corporation agree to work together to develop APB’s “All Polymer Battery” technology for use in HAPSMobile’s Sunglider aircraft.
HAPSMobile Inc. is a subsidiary of Japanese telecommunications company Softbank Corp. HAPSMobile is a joint venture between both Softbank and Aerovironment, Inc. The company is described as the global, next-generation broadband telecommunications provider.
HAPS stands for high altitude platform station and is HAPSMobile’s solar-powered Sunglider aircraft with a 78m wingspan and 10 propellers. HAPSMobile aims to use its stratosphere-cruising aircraft to provide better wireless coverage on the ground and improve the bandwidth needed to support the emerging 5G standard and the internet of things (IoT).
Recently, HAPSMobile reached an agreement with APB Corporation to develop high energy density storage batteries for the HAPS platform. APB is a leading manufacturer and supplier of next-generation lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). The company created a world first, the “All Polymer Battery”.
HAPSMobile’s Sunglider can cover 200 km at a distance of 20 km above the Earth in the stratosphere. Image used courtesy of HAPSMobile
The HAPS aircraft has been designed to provide radio coverage over an area of 200 km from a position of 20 km in the atmosphere. Low latency high-quality telecommunications (LTE) is what HAPSMobile aims to provide with HAPS. The platform uses the same frequency that on-the-ground cell sites. This enables existing devices to work without the need for an upgrade. HAPS can serve as critical rescue and recovery infrastructure and help bring stable and reliable communications in hazardous scenarios. Remote monitoring in isolated islands will also be possible for IoT devices used for farming, and other future IoT communication applications.
APB’s All Polymer Battery (laminated). Image used courtesy of HAPSMobile
HAPSMobile and APB believe that the All Polymer Battery will be able to effectively power the Sunglider while it flies within the stratosphere. It is an attractive solution due to its high energy density and high reliability under harsh conditions.
The All Polymer Battery was jointly developed by the current CEO of APB, Hideaki Horie, and Sanyo Chemical Industries, Ltd. (“Sanyo Chemical”.) This battery technology is constituted of a bipolar structure that has been designed to direct the flow of electric current perpendicular to the electrode plane. The current collector of the battery system has a higher resistance to current for both the cathode and anode. This serves to improve safety. The polymer material of the All Polymer Battery is gel-like and contains an electrolytic solution.
The simplicity and flexibility of the structure of the All Polymer Battery, means that fewer parts are required, and that the size and shape of the cells can be modified to create larger cells and thicker electrodes for other desired applications. Potential applications for this technology include large scale drones, robots, aircraft, android powered suits, energy storage power plants, and more.
Both HAPSMobile and APB aim to remove unnecessary wiring part for achieving high voltage, increase the ratio of polymer in other components, and incorporate next-generation electrode materials to achieve high energy density with high reliability.