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Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems

The projects that comprise ARPA-E's RANGE Program, short for "Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems," seek to develop transformational electrochemical energy storage technologies that will accelerate the widespread adoption of electric vehicles by dramatically improving their driving range, cost, and safety. RANGE focuses on four specific areas 1) aqueous batteries constructed using water to improve safety and reduce costs, 2) non-aqueous batteries that incorporate inherent protection mechanisms that ensure no harm to vehicle occupants in the event of a collision or fire, 3) solid-state batteries that use no liquids or pastes in their construction, and 4) multifunctional batteries that contribute to both vehicle structure and energy storage functions.
  For a detailed technical overview about this program, please click here.  

Arizona State University

An ACTIVE Program to Revolutionize EV Adoption - Advanced Cells for Transportation via Integrated Vehicle Energy (ACTIVE)

Arizona State University (ASU) is developing an innovative, formable battery that can be incorporated as a structural element in the vehicle. This battery would replace structural elements such as roof and side panels that previously remained passive, and incapable of storing energy. Unlike today's batteries that require significant packaging and protection, ASU's non-volatile chemistry could better withstand collision on its own because the battery would be more widely distributed throughout the vehicle so less electricity would be stored in any single area. Furthermore, ASU's battery would not use any flammable components or high-voltage modules. The chemistry minimizes conventional protection and controls while enabling it to store energy and provide structure, thus making vehicles lighter and safer.


High Preformance NiMH Alloy For Next Generation Batteries

BASF is developing metal hydride alloys using new, low-cost metals for use in high-energy nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries. Although NiMH batteries have been used in over 5 million vehicles with a proven record of long service life and abuse tolerance, their storage capacity is limited, which restricts driving range. BASF looks to develop a new NiMH design that will improve storage capacity and reduce fabrication costs through the use of inexpensive components. BASF will select new metals with a high energy storage capacity, then modify and optimize battery cell design. Once the ideal design has been established, BASF will evaluate methods for mass production and build a prototype 1 Kilowatt-hour battery.

Bettergy Corp.

Low Cost Solid State Battery for EV Applications

Bettergy is developing an inexpensive battery that uses a novel combination of solid, non-flammable materials to hold a greater amount of energy for use in EVs. Conventional EV batteries are typically constructed using costly materials and require heavy, protective components to ensure safety. Consequently, these heavy battery systems require the car to expend more energy, leading to reduced driving range. Bettergy will research a battery design that utilizes low-cost energy storage materials to reduce costs, and solid, non-flammable components that will not leak to improve battery safety. Bettergy plans to do this while reducing the battery weight for greater efficiency so vehicles can drive further on a single charge.

Cadenza Innovation

Novel Low Cost and Safe Li ion EV Battery

Cadenza Innovation is developing an innovative system to join and package batteries using a wide range of battery chemistries. Today's battery packs require heavy and bulky packaging that limits where they can be positioned within a vehicle. By contrast, Cadenza's design enables flexible placement of battery packs to absorb and manage impact energy in the event of a collision. Cadenza's battery will use a novel configuration that allows for double the energy density through the use of a multifunctional pack design.

Ceramatec, Inc.

Advanced Hybrid, Planar Lithium/Sulfur Batteries

Ceramatec is developing new batteries that make use of a non-porous, high ion conductivity ceramic membrane employing a lithium-sulfur (Li-S) battery chemistry. Porous separators found in today's batteries contain liquids that negatively impact cycle life. To address this, Ceramatec's battery includes a ceramic membrane to help to hold charge while not in use. This new design would also provide load bearing capability, improved mechanical integrity, and extend battery life. Ceramatec will build and demonstrate its innovative, low-cost, non-porous membrane in a prototype Li-S battery with a smaller size and higher storage capacity than conventional batteries. This battery pack could offer high energy density--greater than 300 Watt hours per kilogram--at a price of approximately $125-150/kWh.

EnZinc, Inc.

A Rechargeable, Dendrite-Free Zinc Anode for a Zinc-Air Battery

EnZinc is developing a low-cost battery using 3D zinc microstructured sponge technology that could dramatically improve the rechargeability of zinc-based EV batteries. As a battery material, zinc is inexpensive and readily available, but presently unsuitable for long-term use in EVs. Current zinc based batteries offer limited cycle life due to the formation of tree-like internal structures (dendrites) that can short out the battery. To address this, EnZinc, in collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, will replace conventional zinc powder-bed anodes with a porous zinc sponge that thwarts formation of structures that lead to battery failure. EnZinc's technology will enable zinc-based batteries that accept high-power charge and discharge as required by EVs.

General Electric

High Energy Density Flow Battery for EV Storage

General Electric (GE) Power & Water is developing an innovative, high-energy chemistry for a water-based flow battery. A flow battery is an easily rechargeable system that stores its electrode--the material that provides energy--as liquid in external tanks. Flow batteries have typically been used in grid-scale storage applications, but their flexible design architecture could enable their use in vehicles. To create a flow battery suitable for EVs, GE will test new chemistries with improved energy storage capabilities and built a working prototype. GE's water-based flow battery would be inherently safe because no combustible components would be required and any reactive liquids would be contained in separate tanks. GE estimates that its flow battery could reduce costs by up to 75% while offering a driving range of approximately 240 miles.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Prototype of Rechargeable Nanofluid Flow Battery for EV Systems with High Energy Density, Low Viscosity, and Integrated Thermal Management Function

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) is collaborating with Argonne National Laboratory to develop a rechargeable flow battery for EVs that uses a nanotechnology-based electrochemical liquid fuel that offers over 30 times the energy density of traditional electrolytes. Flow batteries, which store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container, are typically low in energy density and therefore not well suited for transportation. However, IIT's flow battery uses a liquid electrolyte containing a large portion of nanoparticles to carry its charge; increases its energy density while ensuring stability and low-resistance flow within the battery. IIT's technology could enable a whole new class of high-energy-density flow batteries. This unique battery design could be manufactured domestically using an easily scalable process.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Developing Low Cost and Safe Aqueous and Rechargeable Batteries

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is developing a new metal-hydride/air battery. Current electric vehicle batteries use costly components and require packaging and shielding to ensure safety. To address this, JPL's technology will incorporate safe, inexpensive, and high-capacity materials for both the positive and negative electrodes of the battery as part of a novel design. Additionally, JPL's design will use a membrane developed to prevent water loss and CO2 entry within the battery. High power performance and decreased costs will be possible with the use of a single catalyst material that operates both on charge and discharge. Since its new design is intrinsically safer, less packaging is needed, resulting in an overall reduction in weight and volume.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

High Energy, Long Life Organic Battery with Quick Charge Capability

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is developing a low-cost battery system that uses safe and inexpensive organic energy storage materials that can be pumped in and out of the system. NREL's battery, known as a "liquid-phase organic redox system," uses newly developed non-flammable compounds from biological sources to reduce cost while improving the amount of energy that can be stored. The battery's unique construction will enable a 5-minute "fast-charge" and promote long life by allowing for the rapid replacement of liquid electrodes. NREL anticipates an energy density of approximately 590 watt hours per liter with a cost of only $72 per kilowatt hour.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

SAFIRE - a Safe Impact Resistant Electrolyte

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is developing an electrolyte for use in EV batteries that changes from liquid to solid during collisions, eliminating the need for many of the safety components found in today's batteries. Today's batteries contain a flammable electrolyte and an expensive polymer separator to prevent electrical shorts--in an accident, the separator must prevent the battery positive and negative ends of the battery from touching each other and causing fires or other safety problems. ORNL's new electrolyte would undergo a phase change--from liquid to solid--in the event of an external force such as a collision. This phase change would produce a solid impenetrable barrier that prevents electrical shorts, eliminating the need for a separator. This would improve the safety and reduce the weight of the vehicle battery system, ultimately resulting in increased driving range.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Lithium Ion Battery with Integrated Fireproof Electrode Safety Features

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is developing an abuse-tolerant EV battery. Abuse tolerance is a key factor for EV batteries. Robust batteries allow for a broader range of battery chemistries, including low-cost chemistries that could improve driving range and enable cost parity with gas-powered vehicles. ORNL's design would improve battery abuse tolerance at the cell level, thereby reducing the need for heavy protective battery housing. This will enable an EV system that would be lighter and more efficient, both reducing weight and cost and allowing the vehicle to drive further on each charge. ORNL will be researching a new architecture within each cell that will reduce the likelihood of a thermal damage in the event of an abuse situation. The new architecture incorporates a novel foil concept into the battery current collectors. In event of impact, crushing or penetration of the battery, the novel current collector will limit the connectivity and/or conductivity of the battery electrode assembly and hence limit the current at the site of an internal or external short. Limiting the current will avoid the local heating that can trigger thermal excitation and battery damage.

Pennsylvania State University

PowerPanels: Multifunctional Composites with Li-Ion Battery Cores

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is using a new fabrication process to build load-bearing lithium-ion batteries that could be used as structural components of electric vehicles. Conventional batteries remain independent of a vehicle's structure and require heavy protective components that reduce the energy to weight ratio of a vehicle. PowerPanels combine the structural components with a functional battery for an overall reduction in weight. Penn State's PowerPanels use a "jelly roll" design that winds battery components together in a configuration that is strong and stiff enough to be used as a structural component. The result of this would be a low-profile battery usable as a panel on the floor of a vehicle.

Princeton University

Fast Aqueous Multiple Electron Ubiquitous Systems

Alkaline batteries are used in a variety of electronic devices today because of their ability to hold considerable energy, for a long time, at a low cost. In order to create alkaline batteries suitable for EVs, Princeton University will use its expertise in alkaline battery systems examine a variety of suitable positive and negative electrode chemistries. Princeton will then select and experiment with those chemistries that show promise, using computational models to better understand their potential cycle life and storage capacities. Once a promising chemistry has been settled on, Princeton will build and test a prototype battery for an EV.

Purdue University

Crash Safety of Lithium-Ion Batteries

Purdue University is developing an EV battery pack that can better withstand impact during a collision. In contrast to today's EV battery packs that require heavy packaging to ensure safety, Purdue's pack stores energy like a standard battery but is also designed to absorb the shock from an accident, prevents battery failure, and mitigates the risk of personal injury. Batteries housed in protective units are arranged in an interlocking configuration to create an impact energy dissipation device. Should a collision occur, the assemblies of the encased battery units rub against each other, thereby absorbing impact energy and preserving the integrity of the battery pack. Purdue will build a prototype protective casing, create a battery array of several battery units using this design, and study the dynamic behavior of battery units under impact in order to develop a novel EV battery pack.

Solid Power, Inc.

An Ultra High Energy, Safe and Low Cost All Solid-State Rechargeable Battery for Electric Vehicles

Solid Power is developing a new low-cost, all-solid-state battery for EVs with greater energy storage capacity and a lighter, safer design compared to lithium-ion batteries. Conventional batteries are expensive, perform poorly at high temperatures and require heavy protective components to ensure safety. In contrast, Solid Power's liquid-free cells store more energy for their size and weight, but use non-flammable and non-volatile materials that are stable high temperatures. This results in improved safety in the event of a collision or fire. Additionally, Solid Power plans to use low-cost, abundant materials in the range of $10-$20/kg that could reduce battery manufacturing costs, to help drive down the cost of EVs.

Stanford University

Robust Multifunctional Battery Chassis Systems for Automotive Applications

Stanford University is developing an EV battery that can be used as a structural component of the vehicle. Today's EV battery packs only serve one purpose: electrical energy storage. They do not carry structural loads during operation or absorb impact energy in the event of a collision. Stanford's new battery design would improve upon existing technologies in four key areas: 1) structural capabilities, 2) damage and state sensing systems, 3) novel battery management and thermal regulation, and 4) high-capacity battery cells. Stanford's research will result in a multifunctional battery chassis system that is safe and achieves high efficiency in terms of energy storage at low production cost. The integration of such a battery system would result in decreased overall weight of the combined vehicle and battery, for greater EV range.

University of California, Los Angeles


The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is developing a new high-power, long-life, acid-based battery that addresses the cycle life issues associated with lead-acid batteries today. Lead-acid batteries are used extensively in gasoline-powered vehicles and even modern electric vehicles for initial ignition, but inevitably wear out after a limited number of complete discharge cycles. To solve this problem, UCLA will incorporate novel, newly-discovered material that allows the battery to store a greater electrical charge using a conventional battery design. This new battery would provide up to 500 times more charge and discharge cycles and up to 10 times the power of existing lead-acid batteries. UCLA's batteries will be compatible with comparable manufacturing processes for current lead-acid batteries, allowing for rapid, low-cost commercialization.

University of California, San Diego

Developing Low-Cost, Robust, and Multifunctional Battery System for Electric Vehicles: A Non-Chemical Approach

The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) is developing a new battery that can be built into a vehicle frame. Conventional electric vehicle batteries are constructed independently of chassis, which results in a heavier, more inefficient vehicle. By rethinking auto frame design and incorporating the battery into the frame, vehicles can be cheaper and lighter vehicle. Since conventional batteries require potentially flammable materials, UC San Diego will also explore new chemistries to make this multifunctional battery safe in the event of a collision. This approach may require a complete redesign to the auto frame with consideration of adaptability to future battery technologies.


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