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Advanced Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

Ceramatec
Advanced, Hybrid Planar Lithium/Sulfur Batteries
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$2,966,690
Location: 
Salt Lake City, UT
Project Term: 
01/01/2014 to 01/14/2017
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Driving range, safety, and cost remain the biggest hurdles in the way of mass electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Innovative approaches to EV battery manufacturing present the opportunity to maximize stored energy relative to the weight of EVs, allowing for up to three times the driving range. These new battery designs prevent overheating, are immune to catastrophic failure, and can be incorporated into the structure of a vehicle to improve strength in some cases. Much of this can be accomplished at a 30% lower cost compared to conventional batteries, thus bolstering widespread adoption of EVs.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
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.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, Ceramatec's unique battery design would significantly improve the cycle life, energy density, and cost-effectiveness of rechargeable Li-S batteries.
Security: 
The mass adoption of EVs would diminish the demand for petroleum, dramatically reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
Environment: 
Greater use of EVs would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.
Economy: 
Technological advancements from the RANGE program could enable EVs to travel significantly further on a single charge at a much lower cost than that of current EVs and conventional vehicles.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Paul Albertus
Project Contact: 
Dr. Feng Zhao
Partners
Argonne National Laboratory
Nissan Technical Center North America
University of Texas, Austin
Release Date: 
8/21/2013