Altair Nanotechnologies Inc. (Altairnano) (Nasdaq: ALTI), a leading provider of energy storage systems for clean, efficient power and energy management, today announced a $3.8 million contract award from the Office of Naval Research (ONR). This award is for the continued research and design of Altairnano's large-scale nano lithium titanate energy-storage systems for possible use as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) on Navy ships.
"Our advanced battery technology is advancing the quest for a safe, less costly and environmentally friendlier substitute for fossil-fuel burning turbines," said Terry M. Copeland, Ph.D., Altairnano's president and chief executive officer. "The design and development of a 500-kW energy-storage unit paves the way for the Navy to dramatically change how vessels respond to requirements for efficient, redundant, and safe power availability. Given the number of ships to which Altairnano's technology could be applied, this electrical storage and rapid power delivery system could reduce the Navy's fuel consumption by tens of millions of gallons each year."
On Navy vessels today, two gas-turbine generators are kept online to guarantee power availability. An Altairnano battery solution provides the ability to run only one turbine at a more efficient capacity. If there is a problem with the primary generator, the Altairnano UPS would provide enough power to allow a second generator to be started and put online, avoiding the cost of keeping two generators running continuously. It is estimated the fuel cost savings alone would near $1 million per vessel for a six-month cruise.
This contract, the continuation of an earlier award announced in 2008, is for the additional engineering, design, and testing of Altairnano's advanced battery systems for use on Navy ships. The second phase of this contract includes construction and delivery of a 500-kW energy-storage unit for operational testing by ONR. During this phase Altairnano will produce this unit for performance testing, smaller-scale modules for safety testing and conduct other cell, safety and ship integration studies. The engagement starts immediately with contract completion anticipated by July 1, 2010.
To date, total funds appropriated by Congress for Altairnano's battery program total $12.5 million. Funds for the third phase of Altairnano's ongoing engagement are expected to be awarded in 2010.