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Japan commissions its first submarine equipped with lithium-ion batteries

2020-03-25


With the advanced battery technology, lithium-ion battery has a significant improvement on power supply and energy storage. Japan has introduced lithium-ion batteries into its submarines. On 5th March, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force commissioned its first Soryu-class diesel-electric submarine running on lithium-ion batteries.

This diesel-electric submarine which named Oryu, and the last boat in its class, which will be christened the Toryu, will be slightly different from the earlier boats in the class, as they’ll use lithium-ion batteries in place of the Stirling-cycle engines and traditional lead-acid batteries for submerged operations.


So, what is the advantages of lithium-ion battery instead of using lead-acid battery?

Let’s have a look at the traditional lead-acid battery first. The traditional diesel-electric submarine uses diesel engines and electric motor as power source. The diesel engines is responsible for the navigation of submarine on the surface and also the constantly charging of traditional lead-acid batteries. The submarine run undersea on the power of lead-acid batteries. Due to the heavy weight and weak storage capacity of lead acid batteries, the power in the lead-acid battery only allow the submarine to hide deep beneath the surface for hours or few days at a time, which reduces the performance of submarines’ concealment.

Although the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology has solve this problem to some extent, however, the AIP technology also brings some new technical complexity. While the Stirling-cycle engines produce less noise and vibration, it has a shortcoming-- the engine is less powerful than the other propulsion system resulting in the low submerged speed. More engines are needed to increase power which not only affect the submarine layout but takes up more space. This is also the reason for the insufficiency of reserve buoyancy of the Soryu-class submarine.

What benefits do the lithium-ion batteries bring for this Soryu-class diesel-electric submarine? 

The below chart is a basic comparison of lead-acid battery and lithium-ion battery.


Compared to lead-acid batteries, lithium-ion batteries have high energy density and capacity with small size and light weight. The long cycle life makes the battery can serve for a long time without frequent replacement. The lithium-ion technology requires less maintenance and is capable of longer endurance at high speeds while submerged compared to lead-acid batteries. 

The adoption of lithium-ion batteries considerably reduces the weight of submarine, improve the reserve buoyancy and leave more space for the submarine as well. The reduction of Stirling-cycle engines and lead-acid batteries creates a better silent performance for the submarine which is critical to the submerged operation.

Generally, the technological progress of lithium batteries draws people’s attention in utilizing this new kind of batteries in different application fields, the weakness of traditional lead-acid batteries when using are expected to be solved. When looking for battery for power supply, quality and safety of the battery are prime precedence. This is what UFO POWER primary concern likewise. UFO POWER has specialized in lithium-ion battery for more than a decade, we are dedicated to provide superior quality lithium battery to cater to various applications, such as solar power storage, telecommunication base station, electric three-wheeler and other fields. From start to finish, products are tested to ensure optimum performance and compliance with international standards. 

In conclusion, it can be stated that lithium-ions is beyond doubt an viable option, and it still needs time to testing to apply to more application fields. We believe that the development of lithium-ion batteries is a great achievement and it will be a promising future. 


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