From: Exide Technologies
Posted: Thursday, July 5, 2001
Exide Technologies , the global leader in stored electrical energy solutions, has signed a multi- year US $2.4 million contract with the United States National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) to supply specialty batteries for the X-38, a prototype of the future emergency Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) for the International Space Station.
The CRV is designed to be a space-station ``life boat'' to transport a maximum of seven crew members from the International Space Station back to earth in case of an emergency. It is required to be totally maintenance-free in a standby mode for up to three years, while at the same it must be ready to undock from the Space Station within three minutes if needed.
Exide Technologies will design and produce four battery modules that will power all critical onboard operations on the X-38, including computer and environmental control systems, for as long as seven hours. Each module consists of 144 lithium manganese dioxide cells, each rated at 33 ampere hours and weighing 92 kg (202 lbs.).
The X-38 contract with NASA marks two technological milestones for a manned spacecraft. The batteries comprise the largest lithium-battery module in watt hours ever qualified for a manned space application. Each module delivers 13.3 kilowatt hours of energy per flight, providing 20 percent more energy than the previous space application batteries, also designed and built by Exide Technologies. In addition, the battery modules include a novel process that allows the battery to completely discharge without dissipating any heat to the spacecraft.
The X-38 agreement is Exide Technologies' first direct-development contract with NASA. Since 1972, Exide's FRIWO unit in Duisburg, Germany, has designed, developed and manufactured batteries for space applications. It was the first company to be qualified by NASA to supply large quantities of lithium batteries for the Space Transportation System (STS), or Space Shuttle.
Lithium manganese dioxide is proving to be the chemistry of choice for applications such as the manned CRV that require high-energy output as well as a high degree of safety in a limited space. The sealed batteries do not contain heavy metal or release toxins or gas, even under extreme temperature conditions. Because the liquid electrolyte is a mixture of organic solvents, it is not corrosive. The batteries also offer an environmental and economic advantage. Approximately 25 percent of the components can be reclaimed and reused at the end of batteries' service lives, saving 60 percent of the initial battery investment.
``As a qualified NASA supplier, Exide Technologies is required to fulfill the high quality and safety requirements imposed by NASA standards,'' said Dr. Foad Derisavi-Fard, Exide/FRIWO Project Manager for the X-38 project. ``NASA's acceptance of the lithium manganese dioxide chemistry validates its superior performance, safety and environmental advantages.''
Exide Technologies is the market leader of the new generation of primary high rate lithium-manganese-dioxide batteries, which already have a wide range of civil and military applications in Europe. Exide Technologies is helping the U.S. military evaluate the chemistry, which provides larger capacity per volume and a higher degree of safety, as a replacement for older lithium sulfur-dioxide battery systems.
``One of the keys to sustaining Exide Technologies' long-term profitability is to develop innovative products, services and technologies,'' said Craig Muhlhauser, President and Chief Operating Officer of Exide Technologies. ``Because of FRIWO's superior research and development, lithium manganese dioxide is emerging as a preferred chemistry in applications such as the X-38 space test vehicle and the CRV. Future military applications of this chemistry would provide a commercial breakthrough and expand the market for lithium manganese dioxide batteries.''
The X-38 is under construction at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The unpiloted vehicle is scheduled for its first space flight test in early 2003. It will be carried into orbit in the payload bay of the Space Shuttle, released using the Shuttle's robotic arm and descend to an Earth landing. Exide Technologies will manufacture the batteries at its Duisburg, Germany, facility.
Exide Technologies is the global leader in providing electrical energy storage solutions. The company has operations in 89 countries, serving the industrial and transportation markets.
Industrial applications include network-power batteries for telecommunications systems, fuel-cell load leveling, electric utilities, railroads, photovoltaic (solar-power related) and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) markets; and motive-power batteries for a broad range of equipment uses, including lift trucks, mining vehicles and commercial vehicles.
Transportation uses include automotive, heavy-duty truck, agricultural, marine and other batteries, as well as new technologies being developed for hybrid vehicles and new 42-volt automotive applications. The company supplies both aftermarket and original-equipment transportation customers.
Further information about Exide Technologies, its financial results and other information can be found at www.exide.com .
Investor contact: Thomas J. Smith, 609-919-4946; firstname.lastname@example.org
Certain statements in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements as defined by the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. As such, they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results of the company to be materially different from any results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These are enumerated in further detail in the company's Form 10-K.
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