Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

Integral Battery Power Limiting Circuit for Intrinsically Safe Applications

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center invites companies to license this innovative power-limiting circuit for batteries. This technology is designed to limit the power output from a battery without compromising battery lifetime in situations where there is little headroom for dropping voltage or wasting current.

The invention was developed to ensure that the full power of the battery will not be available in the event of a short circuit, cut in a cable, or similar event. This technology prevents a spark emitted from a battery during a short circuit from possibly igniting volatile chemicals, while not drawing much additional power in the process. The device can shut off a circuit within 55 µs, 20 times faster than the fastest rated fuse.

The circuit technology is primarily useful in battery-powered applications for hazardous environments, where a circuit might have to be shut down immediately to avoid a dangerous situation due to a short circuit or other fault. Specific applications include:

  • Potentially hazardous materials and tunneling elevators in hazardous environments
  • Transportation of natural gas or other potentially hazardous materials
  • Offshore rigs and pipelines
  • Mining applications, such as drilling and tunneling
  • Gasoline pumps
  • Electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs)
  • Agriculture uses, such as grain elevators
  • Medical monitoring equipment
  • Field-based applications for military or other hazardous environments

For more information about this licensing and joint development opportunity, please contact us by phone or e-mail: (919) 249-0327 or