Galway company Xerotech to develop battery safety tech for ESA

21 May 2021

Image: ESA

The technology design the ESA will use from the battery manufacturer is a critical safety requirement for future space missions.

Galway-based battery systems manufacturer Xerotech is developing next-generation battery safety technology for the European Space Agency (ESA).

The ESA will use the company’s passive propagation resistant (PPR) design, which could prevent single and multi-cell thermal runaway within a battery pack. It does this by using an ultra-lightweight fire-retardant structural foam.

Xerotech, which manufactures advanced lithium-ion battery systems, said the PPR technology can be applied to all current space battery designs and has the potential to enable previously impossible mission profiles and applications. It added that it is a critical safety requirement for future space missions.

The Galway company’s CEO, Barry Flannery, said the project with ESA is very exciting and will enable Xerotech to stay at the forefront of battery pack design.

“Demonstrating that our proprietary PPR solution exceeds the extremely stringent requirements for space applications will provide tremendous technical validation of a core pillar of Xerotech’s battery safety concept, which has already been proven in ground-based applications,” he said.

Xerotech currently uses its PPR technology for off-highway vehicles and non-road mobile machinery.

VP of business development, Thomas Tomaszewski, added: “This project with ESA further strengthens our position as leaders in module and pack technology, not only for heavy duty vehicles, but for battery packs in general.”

Xerotech was founded in 2015 and has a 50,000 sq ft manufacturing facility in Claregalway, including two dedicated units for fully automated serial manufacturing lines.

Earlier this year, the company announced plans to hire 70 new staff in response to increased demand for electrification in the non-road mobile machinery market.

The ESA has engaged with several other Irish companies working on space technology. Last month, Cork start-up Varadis secured a €600,000 contract to design and build modules for ESA satellites that can detect radiation.

And in March, Galway-based ÉireComposites announced an agreement with Belgian company OIP Sensor Systems to design and manufacture three carbon-fibre stray light baffles for the ESA’s Altius satellite.

Yesterday (20 May), the ESA unveiled its plans to create a commercially viable constellation of lunar satellites.

Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic