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Transportation Storage

Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices

The projects that comprise ARPA-E's AMPED Program, short for "Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices," seek to develop advanced sensing, control, and power management technologies that redefine the way we think about battery management. Energy storage can significantly improve U.S. energy independence, efficiency, and security by enabling a new generation of electric vehicles. While rapid progress is being made in new battery materials and storage technologies, few innovations have emerged in the management of advanced battery systems. AMPED aims to unlock enormous untapped potential in the performance, safety, and lifetime of today's commercial battery systems exclusively through system-level innovations, and is thus distinct from existing efforts to enhance underlying battery materials and architectures.
For a detailed technical overview about this program, please click here.  

Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation

The U.S. spends nearly a $1 billion per day to import petroleum, but we need dramatically better batteries for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles (EV/PHEV) to truly compete with gasoline-powered cars. The projects in ARPA-E's BEEST program, short for "Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation," could make that happen by developing a variety of rechargeable battery technologies that would enable EV/PHEVs to meet or beat the price and performance of gasoline-powered cars, and enable mass production of electric vehicles that people will be excited to drive.
 For a detailed technical overview about this program, please click here.  

High Energy Advanced Thermal Storage

The projects that make up ARPA-E's HEATS program, short for "High Energy Advanced Thermal Storage," seek to develop revolutionary, cost-effective ways to store thermal energy. HEATS focuses on 3 specific areas: 1) developing high-temperature solar thermal energy storage capable of cost-effectively delivering electricity around the clock and thermal energy storage for nuclear power plants capable of cost-effectively meeting peak demand, 2) creating synthetic fuel efficiently from sunlight by converting sunlight into heat, and 3) using thermal energy storage to improve the driving range of electric vehicles (EVs) and also enable thermal management of internal combustion engine vehicles.
  For a detailed technical overview about this program, please click here.  

Innovative Development in Energy-Related Applied Science

The IDEAS program - short for Innovative Development in Energy-Related Applied Science - provides a continuing opportunity for the rapid support of early-stage applied research to explore pioneering new concepts with the potential for transformational and disruptive changes in energy technology. IDEAS awards, which are restricted to maximums of one year in duration and $500,000 in funding, are intended to be flexible and may take the form of analyses or exploratory research that provides the agency with information useful for the subsequent development of focused technology programs. IDEAS awards may also support proof-of-concept research to develop a unique technology concept, either in an area not currently supported by the agency or as a potential enhancement to an ongoing focused technology program. This program identifies potentially disruptive concepts in energy-related technologies that challenge the status quo and represent a leap beyond today's technology. That said, an innovative concept alone is not enough. IDEAS projects must also represent a fundamentally new paradigm in energy technology and have the potential to significantly impact ARPA-E's mission areas.

Open Funding Solicitation

In 2009, ARPA-E issued an open call for the most revolutionary energy technologies to form the agency's inaugural program. The first open solicitation was open to ideas from all energy areas and focused on funding projects already equipped with strong research and development plans for their potentially high-impact technologies. The projects chosen received a level of financial support that could accelerate technical progress and catalyze additional investment from the private sector. After only 2 months, ARPA-E's investment in these projects catalyzed an additional $33 million in investments. In response to ARPA-E's first open solicitation, more than 3,700 concept papers flooded into the new agency, which were thoroughly reviewed by a team of 500 scientists and engineers in just 6 months. In the end, 36 projects were selected as ARPA-E's first award recipients, receiving $176 million in federal funding.
 For a detailed technical overview about this program, please click here.  

Open Funding Solicitation

In 2012, ARPA-E issued its second open funding opportunity designed to catalyze transformational breakthroughs across the entire spectrum of energy technologies. ARPA-E received more than 4,000 concept papers for OPEN 2012, which hundreds of scientists and engineers thoroughly reviewed over the course of several months. In the end, ARPA-E selected 66 projects for its OPEN 2012 program, awarding them a total of $130 million in federal funding. OPEN 2012 projects cut across 11 technology areas: advanced fuels, advanced vehicle design and materials, building efficiency, carbon capture, grid modernization, renewable power, stationary power generation, water, as well as stationary, thermal, and transportation energy storage.
For a detailed technical overview about this program, please click here.  

Open Funding Solicitation

In 2015, ARPA-E issued its third open funding opportunity designed to catalyze transformational breakthroughs across the entire spectrum of energy technologies. ARPA-E received more than 2,000 concept papers for OPEN 2015, which hundreds of scientists and engineers thoroughly reviewed over the course of several months. In the end, ARPA-E selected 41 projects for its OPEN 2015 program, awarding them a total of $125 million in federal funding. OPEN 2015 projects cut across ten technology areas: building efficiency, industrial processes and waste heat, data management and communication, wind, solar, tidal and distributed generation, grid scale storage, power electronics, power grid system performance, vehicle efficiency, storage for electric vehicles, and alternative fuels and bio-energy.
For a detailed technical overview about this program, please click here.

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.  

24M Technologies

Large-Area Lithium Electrode Sub-Assemblies (LESAs) Protected by Self-Forming Microstructured Polymer-Inorganic Single-Ion Conducting Composites

24M Technologies will lead a team to develop low cost, durable, enhanced separators/solid state electrolytes to build batteries using a lithium metal anode. Using a polymer/solid electrolyte ceramic blend, 24M will be able to make a protective layer that will help eliminate side reactions that have previously contributed to performance degradation and provide a robust mechanical barrier to branchlike metal fibers called dendrites. Unimpeded, dendrites can grow to span the space between the negative and positive electrodes, causing a short-circuit. The resulting, large-area lithium electrode sub-assemblies, or LESAs, will be cost-effective solutions that are scalable to high-volume manufacturing while providing a toolbox to further tailor electrode performance.

24M Technologies

Semi-Solid Flow Cells for Automotive and Grid-Level Energy Storage

Scientists at 24M are crossing a Li-Ion battery with a fuel cell to develop a semi-solid flow battery. This system relies on some of the same basic chemistry as a standard Li-Ion battery, but in a flow battery the energy storage material is held in external tanks, so storage capacity is not limited by the size of the battery itself. The design makes it easier to add storage capacity by simply increasing the size of the tanks and adding more paste. In addition, 24M's design also is able to extract more energy from the semi-solid paste than conventional Li-Ion batteries. This creates a cost-effective, energy-dense battery that can improve the driving range of EVs or be used to store energy on the electric grid.


Low Cost, Durable Anion Exchange Membranes

The 3M Company will develop a new anion exchange membrane (AEM) technology with widespread applications in fuel cells, electrolyzers, and flow batteries. Unlike many proton exchange membrane (PEM) applications, the team's AEM will operate in an alkaline environment, which means lower-cost electrodes can be used. The team plans to engineer a membrane that simultaneously meets key goals for resistance, mechanical and chemical stability, and cost. They will do this by focusing on simple, hydroxide-stable polymers, such as polyethylene, and stable cations, such as tetraalkylammonium and imidazolium groups. Positively-charged cation side chains attached to the polymer backbone will facilitate passage of hydroxide ions through the electrolyte, resulting in enhanced ionic conductivity. The proposed polymer chemistry is envisioned to be low cost and can be used in alkaline environments, and can be processed into mechanically robust membrane composites. This membrane technology has the potential to enable high volume, low-cost production of AEMs. The impact of this project can be transformational as the commercial availability of high-quality AEMs has been a limiting factor in developing AEM-based devices.

American Manufacturing, Inc.

Flash Sintering System for Manufacturing Ion-Conducting Solids

American Manufacturing, Inc., in collaboration with the University of Colorado at Boulder, will develop a flash sintering system to manufacture solid lithium-conducting electrolytes with high ionic conductivity. Conventional sintering is the process of compacting and forming a solid mass by heat and/or pressure without melting it to the point of changing it to a liquid, similar to pressing a snowball together from loose snow. In conventional sintering a friable ceramic "bisque" is heated for several hours at very high temperatures until it becomes dense and strong. Oxide ceramics for solid-state electrolytes have high melting points, and some are chemically stable and do not react with lithium metal, which can reduce cost and maximize energy density. But the sintering process requires several hours at very high temperatures (1100°C). These conditions conflict with the fast movement of lithium atoms in the solid state, which is a key property of the electrolyte. Therefore, the manufacture of these electrolytes by the conventional sintering process is a key barrier to their cost and viability. In contrast, flash sintering can occur in fewer than 5 seconds, at temperatures below 800°C, and can prevent the loss of lithium experienced in conventional sintering. This project is expected to improve lithium battery technology in the following ways: lowering the cost of sintering and processing; enhancing productivity through roll-to-roll manufacturing of co-sintered multilayers ready to be inserted into devices; and hastening the discovery of new materials by shortening the time between synthesis of new chemistries and their electrochemical evaluation to days instead of months.

Applied Materials

Novel High Energy Density Lithium-Ion Cell Designs via Innovative Manufacturing Process Modules for Cathode and Integrated Separator

Applied Materials is developing new tools for manufacturing Li-Ion batteries that could dramatically increase their performance. Traditionally, the positive and negative terminals of Li-Ion batteries are mixed with glue-like materials called binders, pressed onto electrodes, and then physically kept apart by winding a polymer mesh material between them called a separator. With the Applied Materials system, many of these manually intensive processes will be replaced by next generation coating technology to apply each component. This process will improve product reliability and performance of the cells at a fraction of the current cost. These novel manufacturing techniques will also increase the energy density of the battery and reduce the size of several of the battery's components to free up more space within the cell for storage.

Arizona State University

Sustainable, High-Energy Density, Low-Cost Electrochemical Energy Storage - Metal-Air Ionic Liquid (MAIL) Batteries

ASU is developing a new class of metal-air batteries. Metal-air batteries are promising for future generations of EVs because they use oxygen from the air as one of the battery's main reactants, reducing the weight of the battery and freeing up more space to devote to energy storage than Li-Ion batteries. ASU technology uses Zinc as the active metal in the battery because it is more abundant and affordable than imported lithium. Metal-air batteries have long been considered impractical for EV applications because the water-based electrolytes inside would decompose the battery interior after just a few uses. Overcoming this traditional limitation, ASU's new battery system could be both cheaper and safer than today's Li-Ion batteries, store from 4-5 times more energy, and be recharged over 2,500 times.

Arizona State University

Advanced Cells for Transportation via Integrated Vehicle Energy (ACTIVE)

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 Performance 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.

Battelle Memorial Institute

Battery Fault Sensing in Operating Batteries

Battelle is developing an optical sensor to monitor the internal environment of lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries in real-time. Over time, crystalline structures known as dendrites can form within batteries and cause a short circuiting of the battery's electrodes. Because faults can originate in even the tiniest places within a battery, they are hard to detect with traditional sensors. Battelle is exploring a new, transformational method for continuous monitoring of operating Li-Ion batteries. Their optical sensors detect internal faults well before they can lead to battery failures or safety problems. The Battelle team will modify a conventional battery component to scan the cell's interior, watching for internal faults to develop and alerting the battery management system to take corrective action before a hazardous condition occurs.

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 Electric Vehicle 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.

California Institute of Technology

Nanomechanics of Electrodeposited Li

The team at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) has developed a method to determine the mechanical properties of lithium as a function of size, temperature, and microstructure. The body of scientific knowledge on these properties and the way dendrites form and grow is very limited, in part due to the reactivity of metallic lithium with components of air such as water and carbon dioxide. The team proposes to conduct a targeted investigation on the properties of electrodeposited lithium metal in commercial thin-film solid-state batteries. As part of the effort, the team will perform structural and mechanical testing on electrodeposited lithium, at dendrite-relevant dimensions. Their investigation will provide new information on the microstructure, strength, and stiffness of electrodeposited lithium. Finally, they will conduct cycling experiments on the commercial cells to observe lithium transport and dendrite nucleation and growth. If successful, the project will result in new knowledge about the microstructure and properties of lithium, and may further our understanding of dendrite nucleation and growth mechanisms - a starting point to developing higher energy battery technologies.


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