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Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, LLC

Potassium-based Aqueous Flow Battery for Grid Application

Teledyne Scientific & Imaging is developing a water-based, potassium-ion flow battery for low-cost stationary energy storage. Flow batteries store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container. This allows for cost-effective scalability because adding storage capacity is as simple as expanding the tank. Teledyne is increasing the energy and power density of their battery by 2-5 times compared to today's state-of-the-art vanadium flow battery. Their safe, scalable, low-cost energy storage technology would facilitate more widespread adoption and deployment of renewable energy technology.

The Boeing Company

Low-Cost, High-Energy Density Flywheel Storage Grid Demonstration

The Boeing Company is developing a new material for use in the rotor of a low-cost, high-energy flywheel storage technology. Flywheels store energy by increasing the speed of an internal rotor--slowing the rotor releases the energy back to the grid when needed. The faster the rotor spins, the more energy it can store. Boeing's new material could drastically improve the energy stored in the rotor. The team will work to improve the storage capacity of their flywheels and increase the duration over which they store energy. The ultimate goal of this project is to create a flywheel system that can be scaled up for use by electric utility companies and produce power for a full hour at a cost of $100 per kilowatt hour.

TVN Systems, Inc.

Hydrogen/Bromine Energy Storage System

TVN Systems is developing an advanced hydrogen-bromine flow battery that incorporates a low-cost membrane and durable catalyst materials. A flow battery's membrane separates its active materials and keeps them from mixing, while the catalyst serves to speed up the chemical reactions that generate electricity. Today's hydrogen-bromine batteries use very expensive membrane material and catalysts that can degrade as the battery is used. TVN is exploring new catalysts that will last longer than today's catalysts, and developing new membranes at a fraction of the cost of today's membranes. Demonstrating long-lasting, cost-competitive storage systems could enable deployment of renewable energy technologies throughout the grid.

United Technologies Research Center

Transformative Electromechanical Flow Storage System

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) is developing a flow battery with a unique design that provides significantly more power than today's flow battery systems. A flow battery is a cross between a traditional battery and a fuel cell. Flow batteries store their energy in external tanks instead of inside the cell itself. Flow batteries have traditionally been expensive because the battery cell stack, where the chemical reaction takes place, is costly. In this project, UTRC is developing a new stack design that achieves 10 times higher power than today's flow batteries. This high power output means the size of the cell stack can be smaller, reducing the amount of expensive materials that are needed. UTRC's flow battery will reduce the cost of storing electricity for the electric grid, making widespread use feasible.

United Technologies Research Center

Proton-Regenerated Aqueous Chemistry Redox-Flow-Cell System (PRAC-RFCS)

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) will develop a proof-of-concept for an innovative new vehicle energy-storage system. The UTRC team is leveraging experience from a previous ARPA-E project focused on grid-scale energy storage, the GRIDS: Breakthrough Flow Battery Cell Stack project, to develop a high-performance redox-air flow cell (RFC) system for EVs. A flow battery is a cross between a traditional battery and a fuel cell. Flow batteries store their energy in external tanks instead of inside the cell itself. If successful, the RFC will: (1) store its energy in a liquid solution at ambient pressure in a conformable plastic tank; (2) be readily packaged inside of an EV given the RFC's high power and energy densities, and (3) be rechargeable either onboard the vehicle like a conventional battery or by rapidly exchanging the discharged solution in the tank with charged solution at a refueling station. A novel recharging method will be employed to dramatically improve the round-trip energy efficiency for cells operating with an air electrode. Technologies like the RFC hold the potential to dramatically decrease the cost of EVs and enable greater adoption of EVs, allowing for increased energy efficiency, decreased petroleum imports, and substantial savings to the average consumer.

United Technologies Research Center

High-Performance Flow Battery with Inexpensive Inorganic Reactants (P.400.0618)

The United Technologies Research Center team will develop an energy storage system based on a new flow battery chemistry using inexpensive and readily available sulfur and manganese based active materials. The team will employ innovative strategies to overcome challenges of system control and unwanted crossover of active materials through the membrane. The affordable reactants, paired with the unique requirements for long-duration electricity discharge, present the opportunity for very low cost energy storage.

University of California, Los Angeles

Thermal Energy Storage With Supercritical Fluids

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) are creating cost-effective storage systems for solar thermal energy using new materials and designs. A major drawback to the widespread use of solar thermal energy is its inability to cost-effectively supply electric power at night. State-of-the-art energy storage for solar thermal power plants uses molten salt to help store thermal energy. Molten salt systems can be expensive and complex, which is not attractive from a long-term investment standpoint. UCLA and JPL are developing a supercritical fluid-based thermal energy storage system, which would be much less expensive than molten-salt-based systems. The team's design also uses a smaller, modular, single-tank design that is more reliable and scalable for large-scale storage applications.

University of California, San Diego

Advanced Energy Storage Modeling, Performance Evaluation and Testing at The University of California, San Diego

The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) will conduct testing of existing ARPA-E energy storage technologies in both laboratory and grid-connected conditions. Home to one of the country's largest microgrids, UC San Diego will apply its advanced understanding of microgrid operation in the California market to select and value applications for storage, in grid-connected and islanded conditions, and to develop duty cycles for energy storage in order to serve individual and stacked applications. UC San Diego plans to test cells and modules from ARPA-E-funded battery developers in its battery laboratories, and UC San Diego experts will assist ARPA-E battery developers in resolving issues and enhancing performance. Those batteries that perform well in laboratory testing using the selected duty cycles will then be deployed for extended testing on UC San Diego's microgrid. This approach will allow UC San Diego to achieve test results that represent a wide spectrum of applications, determine system performance under a variety of conditions, and eventually generate initial performance data that can be shared with electric utilities and other potential grid storage buyers to inform them of the promise of early-stage storage technologies.

University of California, San Diego

Low-cost, Easy-to-integrate, and Reliable Grid Energy Storage System with 2nd Life Lithium Batteries

The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) is developing a universal battery integration system that conditions used EV batteries for use in second-life applications while simultaneously providing energy storage services to the electricity grid. In principle, millions of EV batteries can be repurposed in a "second life" to provide inexpensive stationary storage for homes, businesses, and the electricity grid. It is challenging to combine batteries because batteries with different ages and usage histories perform differently and have varying amounts of remaining life. In this project, UC San Diego will develop a modular power converter matrix to control power flow to used battery modules. UC San Diego will also incorporate advanced life cycle control modeling and optimization algorithms to condition batteries for resale and create a scalable, low-cost stationary storage system.

University of Colorado, Boulder

Anion channel membranes

The University of Colorado, Boulder (CU-Boulder) will develop a new type of anion-exchange membrane for chloride (Cl-) transport that is based on a nanoporous lyotropic liquid crystal structure that minimizes cation crossover by molecular size-exclusion and charge exclusion. Due to a lack of suitable Cl- conducting membranes, flow batteries often use microporous membranes or cation-exchange membranes (CEM) to separate the two electrode chambers. Microporous membranes are inexpensive, but do not provide perfect barriers to intermixing of the reactants (or "crossover") that reduces the battery's efficiency and, in some cases, damages critical components. In contrast, CEMs such as Nafion provide better isolation but are far more expensive, and also permit the migration of water and protons which can change the pH (acidity) and lead to inefficiencies and undesired side reactions in the battery. This project aims to develop a low-cost separator that eliminates crossover in all-iron flow batteries. The membrane allows for ion transport via nanochannels, which are engineered to have sizes below those of common hydrated cations, thus exhibiting perfect cation rejection. In the all-iron battery, key benefits of reduced crossover include increased roundtrip efficiency as well as the reduction of pH swings and water transport, and hence the reduction or elimination of the rebalancing stacks and system management schemes. In the future, the membrane developed in this project could also be used with other lower cost redox couples, including those using two different elements as active species. The low cost, increased efficiency, and long lifetime of these membranes have the potential to significantly increase the economic viability of flow batteries.

University of Delaware

High-Voltage and Low-Crossover Redox Flow Batteries for Economical and Efficient Renewable Electricity Storage

The University of Delaware (UD) is developing a low-cost flow battery that uses membrane technology to increase voltage and energy storage capacity. Flow batteries store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container, which allows for cost-effective scalability because adding storage capacity is as simple as expanding the tank, offering large-scale storage capacity for renewable energy sources. However, traditional flow batteries have limited cell voltages, which lead to low power and low energy density. UD is addressing this limitation by adding an additional exchange membrane within the electrolyte material of the battery, creating 3 separate compartments of electrolytes. Separating the electrolytes in this manner allows unprecedented freedom for the battery to exchange ions back and forth between the positive and negative end of the battery, which improves the voltage of the system.

University of Maryland

Highly Conductive, Robust, Corrosion-Resistant Nanocarbon Current Collectors for Aqueous Batteries

The University of Maryland (UMD) will develop a new type of current collector using a film that is composed of functionalized few-walled carbon nanotubes (FWNTs) and polymers. The team seeks to develop a thin, low-cost current collector that displays high conductivity, excellent mechanical strength, flexibility, and manufacturing scalability. Carbon nanotubes have high conductivity, but in their pure state lack the needed mechanical strength. The FWNT concept will "functionalize" or bolster the outer walls by integrating polymers to increase the mechanical strength. This will give the product the dual benefits of direct tube-on-tube contact for fast recharging and increased mechanical strength and stability from the polymers. Replacement of metal mesh by FWNT-polymer film will not only address current collector corrosion concerns, but will also offer increased energy density due to the substantially lighter weight of these carbon-based materials compared to traditional metallic current collectors.

University of New Mexico

Electrochemical Ammonia Synthesis for Grid Scale Energy Storage

The team led by the University of New Mexico will develop a modular electrochemical process for a power-to-fuel system that can synthesize ammonia directly from nitrogen and water. The proposed synthesis approach will combine chemical and electrochemical steps to facilitate the high-energy step of breaking the nitrogen-nitrogen bond, with projected conversion efficiencies above 70%. By operating at lower temperature and pressure and reducing the air-separation requirement, this technology reduces overall system complexity, thus potentially enabling smaller-scale production at equal or lower costs. Furthermore, the smaller-scale process does not need consistent, baseload power to operate and therefore could be compatible with intermittent renewable energy sources, placing it on a path to be carbon-neutral.

University of South Carolina

A Novel Intermediate-temperature Bifunctional Ceramic Fuel Cell Energy System

The University of South Carolina is developing an intermediate-temperature, ceramic-based fuel cell that will both generate and store electrical power with high efficiencies. Reducing operating temperatures for fuel cells is critical to enabling distributed power generation. The device will incorporate a newly discovered ceramic electrolyte and nanostructured electrodes that enable it to operate at temperatures lower than 500ºC, far below the temperatures associated with fuel cells for grid-scale power generation. The fuel cell's unique design includes an iron-based layer that stores electrical charge like a battery, enabling a faster response to changes in power demand.

University of South Florida

Development of a Low Cost Thermal Energy Storage System Using Phase Change Materials with Enhanced Radiation Heat Transfer

The University of South Florida (USF) is developing low-cost, high-temperature phase-change materials (PCMs) for use in thermal energy storage systems. 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. Most PCMs do not conduct heat very well. Using an innovative, electroless encapsulation technique, USF is enhancing the heat transfer capability of its PCMs. The inner walls of the capsules will be lined with a corrosion-resistant, high-infrared emissivity coating, and the absorptivity of the PCM will be controlled with the addition of nano-sized particles. USF's PCMs remain stable at temperatures from 600 to 1,000°C and can be used for solar thermal power storage, nuclear thermal power storage, and other applications.

University of Southern California

An Inexpensive Metal-free Organic Redox Flow Battery for Grid-Scale Storage

University of Southern California (USC) is developing a water-based, metal-free, grid-scale flow battery that will be cheaper and more rapidly produced than other batteries. Flow batteries store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container. This allows for cost-effective scalability because adding storage capacity is as simple as expanding the tank. Batteries for grid-scale energy storage must be inexpensive, robust, and sustainable--many of today's mature battery technologies do not meet all these requirements. Using innovative designs and extremely low-cost organic materials, USC's new flow battery has the potential to reduce cost, increase durability, and store increased amounts of excess energy, thereby promoting greater renewable energy deployment.

University of Southern California

A Robust and Inexpensive Iron-Air Rechargeable Battery for Grid-Scale Energy Storage

University of Southern California (USC) is developing an iron-air rechargeable battery for large-scale energy storage that could help integrate renewable energy sources into the electric grid. Iron-air batteries have the potential to store large amounts of energy at low cost--iron is inexpensive and abundant, while oxygen is freely obtained from the air we breathe. However, current iron-air battery technologies have suffered from low efficiency and short life spans. USC is working to dramatically increase the efficiency of the battery by placing chemical additives on the battery's iron-based electrode and restructuring the catalysts at the molecular level on the battery's air-based electrode. This can help the battery resist degradation and increase life span. The goal of the project is to develop a prototype iron-air battery at significantly cost lower than today's best commercial batteries.

University of Tennessee

Advanced Reversible Aqueous Air Electrode

The University of Tennessee (UT) will develop a reversible Oxygen Reduction Reaction (ORR) catalyst that can be used both as a peroxide-producing electrolyzer and in reversible air batteries. The ORR catalyst development seeks to significantly improve peroxide electrolysis efficiency and achieve high charge and discharge rates in air-breathing batteries. In conjunction with the new catalyst, an anion exchange membrane (AEM) will be used to further increase the electrolyzer efficiency and reduce peroxide production costs. In the reversible air battery, the AEM increases battery power performance. Finally, a two-phase flow field design will increase both the current density and current efficiency for peroxide production and can also be used in the reversible air battery to build up a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide for energy storage. This technology could also enable onsite hydrogen peroxide production at small scale.

University of Tennessee

Reversible Fuel Cells for Long Duration Storage

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville team will develop an energy storage system based on an innovative electrolyzer/fuel cell combination. Typically, fuel cells produce water from hydrogen and oxygen. The Tennessee team will instead use the fuel cell to produce hydrogen peroxide, a liquid that can be stored. When extra power is needed on the grid, the fuel cell will produce peroxide and electricity. Available electricity then can be used to convert the peroxide back to hydrogen and oxygen during the charging cycle, which can be stored for future use. The benefit of using peroxide rather than water is higher efficiency in both charging and discharging the system.

Washington University

Reinforced AEM Separators Based on Triblock Copolymers for Electrode-decoupled RFBs

The Washington University team will develop new membrane separators for redox flow batteries using a styrene-ethylene-butylene block copolymer. The team will investigate three types of membrane construction to achieve the high levels of ion selectivity and mechanical stability necessary for use in flow batteries. If needed, the team will also explore the addition of inorganic silica particles in the polymer membrane to enhance selectivity. While many flow batteries utilize proton exchange membrane (PEM) separators that conduct positively-charged ions, the proposed membrane in this project is an anion exchange membrane (AEM) that will conduct negatively-charged ions. An inexpensive, durable AEM will allow for improved efficiency and lower system cost in existing flow battery systems such as the iron-chromium redox flow battery as well as enabling development of new low-cost chemistries.


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