True Blue Power (C8717) continues its introduction of the company’s fifth-generation (Gen5) main ship batteries unveiled last March at Heli-Expo in Atlanta. The three ultra-lightweight batteries in this new True Blue Power set are TB20 (20 amp-hour), TB30 (30 amp-hour), and TB40 (40 amp-hour).
These are True Blue Power’s first on-condition, lithium-ion engine-start batteries. Gen5 batteries are engineered to overcome the challenges inherent in lead-acid and nickel-cadmium (NiCad) technologies. The Gen5 group eliminates expensive battery maintenance, frequent capacity checks, low-voltage operational delays, and most battery-related AOG (aircraft-on-ground) situations.
“If you make a list of everything aircraft owners and operators dislike about lead-acid or NiCad batteries and compare that to the advanced features and benefits that our fifth-generation batteries deliver, you’ll find we’ve eliminated all of those pain points and maximized every advantage lithium-ion technology provides,” said Todd Winter, president and CEO of True Blue Power. “We’ve been fine-tuning this revolutionary technology for more than a decade. Our batteries are safer, smarter, lighter and far more cost-effective than [those of] our nearest competition.”
True Blue Power expects FAA and EASA certification for the Gen5 series in the fourth quarter.
In addition to advances over lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries, Gen5 power is more stable and less reactive than competitors’ lithium metal oxide battery chemistry, according to the company's research. Test protocols include batteries being subjected to qualification tests, including 20-g crash testing, -40°C to 70°C operational temperature, shock and vibration tests. All batteries confirmed their ability to manage overvoltage, over-current, undervoltage, and short circuit with no damage to the battery, according to the company.
Gen5 eliminates toxic metals and acid spills. They can be recycled or disposed of in area landfills. Less weight reduces fuel burn and related CO2 emissions.
In addition, the Gen5 engine-start batteries communicate real-time state-of-charge (SOC) and state-of-health (SOH) data. Battery configurations are programmed to meet the needs of specific aircraft. This includes charge current limit, end-of-life capacity, minimum dispatch capacity, and engine-start readiness. The Built-in Test (BIT) indicator provides SOC data without the need for external test equipment, load banks, or auxiliary power.
The batteries are positioned within Battery Management System (BMS) control modules, linked to a central monitoring system, which constantly communicates battery health to the cockpit or console. The BMS reports information such as temperature, module faults and over/under voltage indications, while internally monitoring established safety thresholds.
This data eliminates expensive scheduled battery maintenance and frequent, costly capacity checks, an improvement that saves owners and operators up to 90 percent in total maintenance cost, the company said. The Gen5 system simply indicates if an operator’s attention is needed, including end-of-useful life.
True Blue Power Gen5 products are less than half the size or weight of existing batteries. Lithium-ion cells have three times the energy density per kilogram when compared to lead-acid and NiCad alternatives. The Gen5s weigh up to 60 percent less and deliver more amp-hours per pound than any other aircraft battery. True Blue Power says typical battery life is around eight years.