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Transportation Storage

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.

Ceramatec, Inc.

Intermediate Temperature Proton Conducting Fuel Cells for Transportation Applications

Ceramatec is developing a solid-state fuel cell that operates in an 'intermediate' temperature range that could overcome persistent challenges faced by both high temperature and low temperature fuel cells. The advantages compared to higher temperature fuel cells are less expensive seals and interconnects, as well as longer lifetime. The advantages compared to low temperature fuel cells are reduced platinum requirements and the ability to run on fuels other than hydrogen, such as natural gas or methanol. Ceramatec's design would use a new electrolyte material to transport protons within the cell and advanced electrode layers. The project would engineer a fuel cell stack that performs at lower cost than current automotive designs, and culminate in the building and testing of a short fuel cell stack capable of meeting stringent transportation requirements.

Citrine Informatics

A Machine Learning-Based Materials Discovery Paradigm Applied to Solid Ion Conductors

The Citrine Informatics team is demonstrating a proof-of-concept for a system that would use experimental work to intelligently guide the investigation of new solid ionic conductor materials. If successful, the project will create a new approach to material discovery generally and new direction for developing promising ionic conductors specifically. The project will aggregate data (both quantitative and meta-data related to experimental conditions) relevant to ionic conductors from the published literature and build advanced, machine learning models for prediction based upon the resulting large database. The team's system will also experimentally explore the new materials space identified and suggested by the models. The Citrine project could provide researchers near-real-time feedback as they perform experiments, allowing them to dynamically select the most promising research pathways. This would in turn unlock more rapid ionic conductor identification and development, and transform the fields of theoretical and experimental materials science at-large.

Colorado School of Mines

Hybrid Polyoxometalate Membranes for High Proton Conduction with Redox Ion Exclusion

The Colorado School of Mines will develop a new membrane for redox flow battery systems based on novel, low-cost materials. The membrane is a hybrid polymer that includes heteropoly acid molecules and a special purpose fluorocarbon-based synthetic rubber called a fluoroelastomer. The team will enhance the membrane's selectivity by refining the polymer structure, employing crosslinking techniques, and also through doping the polymer with cesium. The fluoroelastmer is commercially available, thereby contributing to a superior performance-to-cost ratio for the membrane. Flow battery experts at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory will extensively test the selectivity, conductivity, and stability of the membranes developed in this project, and 3M will apply its decades of membrane fabrication experience to scale-up the new technology. If successfully developed, the separator in this project will increase efficiency and reduce cost in existing flow battery systems such as the all-iron redox flow battery.

Det Norske Veritas (U.S.A)

Sensor-Enhanced and Model-Validated Batteries for Energy Storage

DNV KEMA is testing a new gas monitoring system developed by NexTech Materials to provide early warning signals that a battery is operating under stressful conditions and at risk of premature failure. As batteries degrade, they emit low level quantities of gas that can be measured over the course of a battery's life-time. DNV KEMA is working with NexTech to develop technology to accurately measure these gas emissions. By taking accurate stock of gas emissions within the battery pack, the monitoring method could help battery management systems predict when a battery is likely to fail. Advanced prediction models could work alongside more traditional models to optimize the performance of electrical energy storage systems going forward. In the final phase of the project, DNV KEMA will build a demonstration in a community energy storage system with Beckett Energy Systems.

Eaton Corporation

Predictive Battery Management for Commercial Hybrid Vehicles

Eaton is developing advanced battery and vehicle systems models that will enable fast, accurate estimation of battery health and remaining life. The batteries used in hybrid vehicles are highly complex and require advanced management systems to maximize their performance. Eaton's battery models will be coupled with hybrid powertrain control and power management systems of the vehicle enabling a broader, more comprehensive vehicle management system for better optimization of battery life and fuel economy. Their design would reduce the sticker price of commercial hybrid vehicles, making them cost-competitive with non-hybrid vehicles.

Envia Systems

High Energy Density Lithium Batteries

In a battery, metal ions move between the electrodes through the electrolyte in order to store energy. Envia Systems is developing new silicon-based negative electrode materials for Li-Ion batteries. Using this technology, Envia will be able to produce commercial EV batteries that outperform today's technology by 2-3 times. Many other programs have attempted to make anode materials based on silicon, but have not been able to produce materials that can withstand charge/discharge cycles multiple times. Envia has been able to make this material which can successfully cycle hundreds of times, on a scale that is economically viable. Today, Envia's batteries exhibit world-record energy densities.

EnZinc, Inc.

Rechargeable Dendrite-Free 3D Zinc Sponge Anode

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.

FastCAP Systems Corp.

Low-Cost, High Energy and Power Density, Nanotube-Enhanced Ultracapacitors

FastCAP is improving the performance of an ultracapacitor--a battery-like electronic device that can complement, and possibly even replace, an HEV or EV battery pack. Ultracapacitors have many advantages over conventional batteries, including long lifespans (over 1 million cycles, as compared to 10,000 for conventional batteries) and better durability. Ultracapacitors also charge more quickly than conventional batteries, and they release energy more quickly. However, ultracapacitors have fallen short of batteries in one key metric: energy density--high energy density means more energy storage. FastCAP is redesigning the ultracapacitor's internal structure to increase its energy density. Ultracapacitors traditionally use electrodes made of irregularly shaped, porous carbon. FastCAP's ultracapacitors are made of tiny, aligned carbon nanotubes. The nanotubes provide a regular path for ions moving in and out of the ultracapacitor's electrode, increasing the overall efficiency and energy density of the device.

Ford Motor Company

High-Precision Tester for Automotive and Stationary Batteries

Ford is developing a commercially viable battery tester with measurement precision that is significantly better than today's best battery testers. Improvements in the predictive ability of battery testers would enable significant reductions in the time and expense involved in electric vehicle technology validation. Unfortunately, the instrumental precision required to reliably predict performance of batteries after thousands of charge and discharge cycles does not exist in today's commercial systems. Ford's design would dramatically improve the precision of electric vehicle battery testing equipment, which would reduce the time and expense required in the research, development, and qualification testing of new automotive and stationary batteries.

Gayle Technologies, Inc.

State-of-Health by Ultrasonic Battery Monitoring with In-Service Testing (SUBMIT)

Gayle is developing a laser-guided, ultrasonic electric vehicle battery inspection system that would help gather precise diagnostic data on battery performance. The batteries used in hybrid vehicles are highly complex, requiring advanced management systems to maximize their performance. Gayle's laser-guided, ultrasonic system would allow for diagnosis of various aspects of the battery system, including inspection for defects during manufacturing and assembly, battery state-of-health, and flaws that develop from mechanical or chemical issues with the battery system during use. Because of its non-invasive nature, relatively low cost, and potential for yielding broad information content, this innovative technology could increase productivity in battery manufacturing and better monitor battery conditions during use or service.

General Electric

Control Enabling Solutions with Ultrathin Strain and Temperature Sensor System for Reduced Battery Life Cycle Cost

GE is developing low-cost, thin-film sensors that enable real-time mapping of temperature and surface pressure for each cell within a battery pack, which could help predict how and when batteries begin to fail. The thermal sensors within today's best battery packs are thick, expensive, and incapable of precisely assessing important factors like temperature and pressure within their cells. In comparison to today's best systems, GE's design would provide temperature and pressure measurements using smaller, more affordable sensors than those used in today's measurement systems. Ultimately, GE's sensors could dramatically improve the thermal mapping and pressure measurement capabilities of battery management systems, allowing for better prediction of potential battery failures.

General Electric

High Energy Density Flow Battery for EV Storage

GE 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.

Georgia Tech Research Corporation

Ultra High-Performance Supercapacitor by Using Tailor-Made Molecular Spacer Grafted Graphene

Georgia Tech is developing a supercapacitor using graphene--a two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms--to substantially store more energy than current technologies. Supercapacitors store energy in a different manner than batteries, which enables them to charge and discharge much more rapidly. The Georgia Tech team approach is to improve the internal structure of graphene sheets with 'molecular spacers,' in order to store more energy at lower cost. The proposed design could increase the energy density of the supercapacitor by 10-15 times over established capacitor technologies, and would serve as a cost-effective and environmentally safe alternative to traditional storage methods.

Illinois Institute of Technology

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

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/Argonne'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/Argonne'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.

Inorganic Specialists, Inc.

Silicon-Coated Nanofiber Paper as a Lithium-Ion Anode

Inorganic Specialists' project consists of material and manufacturing development for a new type of Li-Ion battery material, a silicon-coated paper. Silicon-based batteries are advantageous due to silicon's ability to store large amounts of energy. Yet, the technology has not been able to withstand multiple charge/discharge cycles. The thinner the silicon-based material, the better it can handle multiple charge/discharge cycles. Inorganic Specialists' extremely thin silicon-coated paper can store 4 times more energy than existing Li-Ion batteries. The team is improving manufacturing capability in two key areas: 1) expanding existing papermaking equipment to continuously produce the silicon-coated paper, and 2) creating machinery that will silicon-coat the paper via a moving process, to demonstrate manufacturing feasibility. These manufacturing improvements could meet the energy storage criteria required for multiple charge/discharge cycles. Inorganic Specialists' silicon-coated paper's properties have the potential to make it a practical, cost-effective transformative Li-Ion battery material.

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 (ISU) 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.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Safe, High Energy and Robust Aqueous Batteries for EVs

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.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

High-Power Metal-Supported SOFCs for Vehicles

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) will develop a high power density, rapid-start, metal-supported solid oxide fuel cell (MS-SOFC), as part of a fuel cell hybrid vehicle system that would use liquid bio-ethanol fuel. In this concept, the SOFC would accept hydrogen fuel derived from on-board processing of the bio-ethanol and air, producing electricity to charge an on-board battery and operate the motor. The project aims to develop and demonstrate cell-level MS-SOFC technology providing unprecedented high power density and rapid start capability initially using hydrogen and simulated processed ethanol fuels. The majority of the project will focus on the optimization and development of scalable cells that meet stringent power density and start-up time metrics. High-performance catalysts and state-of-the-art high-oxide-conductivity electrolyte materials will be adapted to the MS-SOFC architecture and processing requirements. The cell will be optimized for power density by making the electrolyte and support layers as thin as possible, and the porous electrode structures will be optimized for catalytic activity, gas transport, and conductivity. If successful, the MS-SOFC will be used in a fuel cell stack to achieve low startup time (less than 3 minutes), thousands of operating cycles, and excellent anode oxidation tolerance thus solving issues that have prevented conventional SOFCs from being used effectively in vehicles.

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