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Storage

Halotechnics, Inc.

Advanced Molten Glass for Heat Transfer and Thermal Energy Storage

Halotechnics is developing a high-temperature thermal energy storage system using a new thermal-storage and heat-transfer material: earth-abundant and low-melting-point molten glass. Heat storage materials are critical to the energy storage process. In solar thermal storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials during the day and released at night-when the sun is not out-to drive a turbine and produce electricity. In nuclear storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials at night and released to produce electricity during daytime peak-demand hours. Halotechnics new thermal storage material targets a price that is potentially cheaper than the molten salt used in most commercial solar thermal storage systems today. It is also extremely stable at temperatures up to 1200°C-hundreds of degrees hotter than the highest temperature molten salt can handle. Being able to function at high temperatures will significantly increase the efficiency of turning heat into electricity. Halotechnics is developing a scalable system to pump, heat, store, and discharge the molten glass. The company is leveraging technology used in the modern glass industry, which has decades of experience handling molten glass.

Harvard University

Small Organic Molecule Based Flow Battery for Grid Storage

Harvard is developing an innovative grid-scale flow battery to store electricity from renewable sources. Flow batteries store energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container, permitting larger amounts of stored energy at lower cost per kWh. Harvard is designing active material for a flow battery that uses small, inexpensive organic molecules in aqueous electrolyte. Relying on low-cost organic materials, Harvard's innovative storage device concept would yield one or more systems that may be developed by their partner, Sustainable Innovations, LLC, into viable grid-scale electrical energy storage systems.

Ionic Materials

Novel Polymer Electrolyte for Solid State Lithium Metal Battery Technology

Ionic Materials will develop a lithium metal (not lithium ion) rechargeable battery cell that employs a novel solid polymer electrolyte that enables the world's first truly safe lithium metal rechargeable battery cell. Scientists at the City University of New York have found that Ionic Material's proprietary ionic conducting polymer is the most highly lithium conducting solid state polymer material ever measured (at room temperature). This polymer has high ionic conductivity across a range of temperatures, can be reliably extruded into very thin films, is non-flammable, has attractive mechanical properties, and is compatible with a variety of different anodes and cathodes, including lithium metal. This polymer also has the potential to address a number of challenges associated with lithium metal anodes, including electrochemical stability and the ability to cycle without the growth of branchlike metal fibers called dendrites. If left unimpeded, dendrites can grow to span the space between the negative and positive electrodes, causing short-circuiting. Ionic Materials' polymer electrolyte will eliminate the risk of battery shorting due to dendrites, and speed the safe implementation of solid-state, lithium metal anode batteries. Such cells are of particular interest due to their extremely high specific energy (400 Wh/kg or more versus 285 Wh/kg for the best Li-Ion cells today) and their potential to reduce cell costs below $100/kWh, a commonly cited tipping point for the mass adoption of electric vehicles.

Iowa State University

Strong, High Li+ Ion Conductivity, Li-Impermeable Thin-Ribbon Glassy Solid Electrolytes

Iowa State University will develop new lithium-ion-conducting glassy solid electrolytes to address the shortcomings of present-day lithium batteries. The electrolytes will have high ionic conductivities and excellent mechanical, thermal, chemical, and electrochemical properties. Because glasses lack grain boundaries, they will also be impermeable to lithium dendrites, branchlike metal fibers that can short-circuit battery cells. These glassy solid electrolytes can enhance the safety, performance, manufacturability, and cost of lithium batteries. In addition to the electrolyte development, the team will build a micro-sheet glass ribbon processing facility and optimize conditions to identify a composition that will enable low-cost fabrication. Roll-to-roll manufacturing of the long, ribbon micro-sheets could be used to mass-produce enormous volumes of lithium batteries at very low cost and in flexible, stacked-layer formats.

ITN Energy Systems, Inc.

Demonstration of 2.5kW/10kWh Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) Through Rationally Designed High Energy Density Electrolytes and Membrane-Electrode Assembly (MEA)

ITN is developing a vanadium redox flow battery for residential and small-scale commercial energy storage that would be more efficient and affordable than today's best energy storage systems. In a redox flow battery, chemical reactions occur that allow the battery to absorb or deliver electricity. Unlike conventional batteries, flow batteries use a liquid (also known as an electrolyte) to store energy; the more electrolyte that is used, the longer the battery can operate. Vanadium electrolyte-based redox flow battery systems are a technology for today's market, but they require expensive ion-exchange membranes. In the past, prices of vanadium have fluctuated, increasing the cost of the electrolyte and posing a major obstacle to more widespread adoption of vanadium redox flow batteries. ITN's design combines a low-cost ion-exchange membrane and a low-cost electrolyte solution to reduce overall system cost, ultimately making a vanadium redox flow battery cost-competitive with more traditional lead-acid batteries.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Hydrogen Bromine Flow Batteries for Grid Scale Energy Storage

LBNL is designing a flow battery for grid storage that relies on a hydrogen-bromine chemistry which could be more efficient, last longer, and cost less than today's lead-acid batteries. Flow batteries are fundamentally different from traditional lead-acid batteries because the chemical reactants that provide their energy are stored in external tanks instead of inside the battery. A flow battery can provide more energy because all that is required to increase its storage capacity is to increase the size of the external tanks. The hydrogen-bromine reactants used by LBNL in its flow battery are inexpensive, long lasting, and provide power quickly. The cost of the design could be well below $100 per kilowatt hour, which would rival conventional grid-scale battery technologies.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Battery Management System with Distributed Wireless Sensors

LLNL is developing a wireless sensor system to improve the safety and reliability of lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery systems by monitoring key operating parameters of Li-Ion cells and battery packs. This system can be used to control battery operation and provide early indicators of battery failure. LLNL's design will monitor every cell within a large Li-Ion battery pack without the need for large bundles of cables to carry sensor signals to the battery management system. This wireless sensor network will dramatically reduce system cost, improve operational performance, and detect battery pack failures in real time, enabling a path to cheaper, better, and safer large-scale batteries.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Advanced Thermo-Adsorptive Battery Climate Control System

MIT is developing a low-cost, compact, high-capacity, advanced thermo-adsorptive battery (ATB) for effective climate control of EVs. The ATB provides both heating and cooling by taking advantage of the materials' ability to adsorb a significant amount of water. This efficient battery system design could offer up as much as a 30% increase in driving range compared to current EV climate control technology. The ATB provides high-capacity thermal storage with little-to-no electrical power consumption. MIT is also looking to explore the possibility of shifting peak electricity loads for cooling and heating in a variety of other applications, including commercial and residential buildings, data centers, and telecom facilities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Metallic Composites Phase-Change Materials for High-Temperature Thermal Energy Storage

MIT is developing efficient heat storage materials for use in solar and nuclear power plants. Heat storage materials are critical to the energy storage process. In solar thermal storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials during the day and released at night-when the sun's not out-to drive a turbine and produce electricity. In nuclear storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials at night and released to produce electricity during daytime peak-demand hours. MIT is designing nanostructured heat storage materials that can store a large amount of heat per unit mass and volume. To do this, MIT is using phase-change materials, which absorb a large amount of latent heat to melt from solid to liquid. MIT's heat storage materials are designed to melt at high temperatures and conduct heat well-this makes them efficient at storing and releasing heat and enhances the overall efficiency of the thermal storage and energy-generation process. MIT's low-cost heat storage materials also have a long life cycle, which further enhances their efficiency.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Electroville: High Amperage Energy Storage Device-Energy for the Neighborhood

Led by MIT professor Donald Sadoway, the Electroville project team is creating a community-scale electricity storage device using new materials and a battery design inspired by the aluminum production process known as smelting. A conventional battery includes a liquid electrolyte and a solid separator between its 2 solid electrodes. MIT's battery contains liquid metal electrodes and a molten salt electrolyte. Because metals and salt don't mix, these 3 liquids of different densities naturally separate into layers, eliminating the need for a solid separator. This efficient design significantly reduces packaging materials, which reduces cost and allows more space for storing energy than conventional batteries offer. MIT's battery also uses cheap, earth-abundant, domestically available materials and is more scalable. By using all liquids, the design can also easily be resized according to the changing needs of local communities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

HybriSol Hybrid Nanostructures for High-Energy-Density Solar Thermal Fuels

MIT is developing a thermal energy storage device that captures energy from the sun; this energy can be stored and released at a later time when it is needed most. Within the device, the absorption of sunlight causes the solar thermal fuel's photoactive molecules to change shape, which allows energy to be stored within their chemical bonds. A trigger is applied to release the stored energy as heat, where it can be converted into electricity or used directly as heat. The molecules would then revert to their original shape, and can be recharged using sunlight to begin the process anew. MIT's technology would be 100% renewable, rechargeable like a battery, and emissions-free. Devices using these solar thermal fuels-called HybriSol-can also be used without a grid infrastructure for applications such as de-icing, heating, cooking, and water purification.

Materials & Systems Research, Inc.

Advanced Sodium Batteries with Enhanced Safety and Low-Cost Processing

MSRI is developing a high-strength, low-cost solid-state electrolyte membrane structure for use in advanced grid-scale sodium batteries. The electrolyte, a separator between the positive and negative electrodes, carries charged materials called ions. In the solid electrolyte sodium batteries, sodium ions move through the solid-state ceramic electrolyte. This electrolyte is normally brittle, expensive, and difficult to produce because it is formed over the course of hours in high-temperature furnaces. With MSRI's design, this ceramic electrolyte will be produced cheaply within minutes by single-step coating technologies onto high-strength support materials. The high-strength support material provides excellent structural integrity, much superior to the conventional cell design, which depends solely on the brittle ceramic material for its strength. The resulting stronger, cheaper sodium battery design will enable a new generation of low-cost, safe, and reliable batteries for grid-scale energy storage applications.

Materials & Systems Research, Inc.

Intermediate-Temperature Electrogenerative Cells for Flexible Cogeneration of Power and Liquid Fuel

MSRI is developing an intermediate-temperature fuel cell capable of electrochemically converting natural gas into electricity or liquid fuel in a single step. Existing solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) convert the chemical energy of hydrocarbons-such as hydrogen or methane-into electricity at higher efficiencies than traditional power generators, but are expensive to manufacture and operate at extremely high temperatures, introducing durability and cost concerns over time. Existing processes for converting methane to liquid transportation fuels are also capital intensive. MSRI's technology would convert natural gas into liquid fuel using efficient catalysts and a cost-effective fabrication process that can be readily scaled up for mass production. MSRI's technology will provide low-cost power or liquid fuel while operating in a temperature range of 400-500§C, enabling better durability than today's high-temperature fuel cells.

NAVITASMAX

Novel Tuning of Critical Fluctuations for Advanced Thermal Energy Storage

NAVITASMAX, along with their partners at Harvard University, Cornell University, and Barber-Nichols, is developing a novel thermal energy storage solution. This innovative technology is based on tuning the properties of simple and complex fluids to increase their ability to store more heat. In solar thermal storage systems, heat can be stored in NAVITASMAX's system during the day and released at night-when the sun is not shining-to drive a turbine and produce electricity. In nuclear storage systems, heat can be stored in NAVITASMAX's system at night and released to produce electricity during daytime peak-demand hours.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Metastable And Glassy Ionic Conductors (MAGIC)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will develop glassy Li-ion conductors that are electrochemically and mechanically stable against lithium metal and can be integrated into full battery cells. Metallic lithium anodes could significantly improve the energy density of batteries versus today's state-of-the-art lithium ion cells. ORNL has chosen glass as a solid barrier because the lack of grain boundaries in glass mitigates the growth of branchlike metal fibers called dendrites, which short-circuit battery cells. The team aims to identify a glassy electrolyte with high conductivity, explore novel and cost-effective ways to fabricate this thin glass electrolyte, and design electrolyte membranes that are sufficiently robust to prevent cracking and degradation during battery fabrication and cycling. Advanced glass processing using rapid quench methods will enable a range of compositions and microstructures as well as their cost-effective fabrication as thin, dense membranes. In addition to glass composition, a range of membrane designs will be investigated by modeling and experiment. For efficient battery fabrication, the glassy membrane will likely require mechanical support and protection, which could be achieved by employing polymers or ceramic layers as a support.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Nanocomposite Electrodes for a Solid Acid Fuel Cell Stack Operating on Reformate

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is redesigning a fuel cell electrode that operates at 250§C. Today's solid acid fuel cells (SAFCs) contain relatively inefficient cathodes, which require expensive platinum catalysts for the chemical reactions to take place. ORNL's fuel cell will contain highly porous carbon nanostructures that increase the amount of surface area of the cell's electrolyte, and substantially reduce the amount of catalyst required by the cell. By using nanostructured electrodes, ORNL can increase the performance of SAFC cathodes at a fraction of the cost of existing technologies. The ORNL team will also modify existing fuel processors to operate efficiently at reduced temperatures; those processors will work in conjunction with the fuel cell to lower costs at the system level. ORNL's innovations will enable efficient distributed electricity generation from domestic fuel sources using less expensive catalysts.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Temperature Self-Regulation for Large-Format Li-Ion cells

ORNL is developing an innovative battery design to more effectively regulate destructive isolated hot-spots that develop within a battery during use and eventually lead to degradation of the cells. Today's batteries are not fully equipped to monitor and regulate internal temperatures, which can negatively impact battery performance, life-time, and safety. ORNL's design would integrate efficient temperature control at each layer inside lithium ion (Li-Ion) battery cells. In addition to monitoring temperatures, the design would provide active cooling and temperature control deep within the cell, which would represent a dramatic improvement over today's systems, which tend to cool only the surface of the cells. The elimination of cell surface cooling and achievement of internal temperature regulation would have significant impact on battery performance, life-time, and safety.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Electric-Powered Adsorption Heat Pump for Electric Vehicles

PNNL is developing a new class of advanced nanomaterial called an electrical metal organic framework (EMOF) for EV heating and cooling systems. The EMOF would function similar to a conventional heat pump, which circulates heat or cold to the cabin as needed. However, by directly controlling the EMOF's properties with electricity, the PNNL design is expected to use much less energy than traditional heating and cooling systems. The EMOF-based heat pumps would be light, compact, efficient, and run using virtually no moving parts.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Reversible Metal Hydride Thermal Storage for High-Temperature Power Generation Systems

PNNL is developing a thermal energy storage system based on a Reversible Metal Hydride Thermochemical (RMHT) system, which uses metal hydride as a heat storage material. Heat storage materials are critical to the energy storage process. In solar thermal storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials during the day and released at night-when the sun is not out-to drive a turbine and produce electricity. In nuclear storage systems, heat can be stored in these materials at night and released to produce electricity during daytime peak-demand hours. PNNL's metal hydride material can reversibly store heat as hydrogen cycles in and out of the material. In a RHMT system, metal hydrides remain stable in high temperatures (600- 800°C). A high-temperature tank in PNNL's storage system releases heat as hydrogen is absorbed, and a low-temperature tank stores the heat until it is needed. The low-cost material and simplicity of PNNL's thermal energy storage system is expected to keep costs down. The system has the potential to significantly increase energy density.

Palo Alto Research Center

Smart Embedded Network of Sensors with Optical Readout (SENSOR)

PARC is developing new fiber optic sensors that would be embedded into batteries to monitor and measure key internal parameters during charge and discharge cycles. Two significant problems with today's best batteries are their lack of internal monitoring capabilities and their design oversizing. The lack of monitoring interferes with the ability to identify and manage performance or safety issues as they arise, which are presently managed by very conservative design oversizing and protection approaches that result in cost inefficiencies. PARC's design combines low-cost, embedded optical battery sensors and smart algorithms to overcome challenges faced by today's best battery management systems. These advanced fiber optic sensing technologies have the potential to dramatically improve the safety, performance, and life-time of energy storage systems.

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