Engineers of the US Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) have filed a patent for their newly developed Lithium 6T (Li6T) Top Cap power distribution device.

The field-reconfigurable direct current (DC) device has been invented by three NSWCCD electrical engineers: Kevin Lin, technical area lead Matthew Huffman and mechanical engineer James Mulford.

All three inventors are assigned under the Expeditionary and Developmental Power and Energy Branch.

Their invention was demonstrated at the Pentagon Energy Expo in Washington DC, between 21 and 22 September 2022.

The modular device includes an additively manufactured shell and interfacing connectors to support its installation on top of the positive and negative terminals of a Li6T battery. It can be installed in under 30 seconds and operators can then leverage the Li6T battery’s direct current (DC) capabilities while adhering to its charging, discharging and safety specifications.

The device has five connectors: four paralleled ITT Cannon connectors are used for maintaining power flow to DC loads, and the fifth, a Nato slave connector, supports the charging of a Li6T battery from an external DC power source.

The connectors have externally accessible circuit breakers, which provide protection against overloads.

The device also has a colour user interface screen and a side-mounted emergency stop button to switch the device on and off.

Mulford said: “This product has a lot of advantages over lead acid batteries, such as its clever battery management system. We are now able to pull information directly from this and display it on our user interface screen for situational awareness.