Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington announced a potential $81.4 million contract to K2 Energy on Tuesday for the fully self-contained battery intermediate energy store system to power capacitor banks for the Navy's future electromagnetic railgun.
K2 Energy specializes in lithium iron phosphate battery technology -- a special kind of lithium battery that addresses the four major issues with current lithium technologies: safety, life, power, and environmental friendliness.
Navy leaders plan to use electromagnetic railguns aboard future surface warships to shoot non-explosive shells at a speed of Mach 8 -- eight times the speed of sound, or roughly 6,000 miles per hour. At that speed the weapon doesn not require explosives; the kinetic energy alone is enough to vaporize vehicle-size objects.
The Navy's electromagnetic railgun, under development by BAE Systems, requires staggering amounts of electricity to operate. The Navy envisions 64-megajoule electromagnetic railguns for future shipboard use.
The Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Va., has a functional 32-megajoule Electro-Magnetic Laboratory Rail Gun from BAE Systems, and operates it for research purposes at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va.
The Navy's ability to deploy future electromagnetic railguns will hinge on producing the incredibly large amounts of electricity necessary to operate them. The 64 megajoules of power necessary to shoot the future electromagnetic railgun is equal to about 18 kilowatt hours, or about the same amount of power an average American household uses in an entire day.
Future warships carrying these kinds of weapons will need advanced power plants, and the requirement for electricity production is likely to have a profound influence over future ship design.
K2 Energy is involved in several advanced battery programs that help push the limits of the company's technology. The company is trying to develop an all-electric version of a Shelby Cobra high-performance sports car, for example.
The car, which company officials say will be faster and will have more power than the gasoline-powered Shelby Cobra will use high-performance K2 Energy 26650P cells with a 240-volt 300-horsepower electric engine that produces 1,000 pounds per foot of torque.
On this contract K2 Energy will do the work in Henderson, Nev., and should be finished by December 2016. For more information contact K2 Energy online at www.k2battery.com, or Naval Sea Systems Command at www.navsea.navy.mil.