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Fire-Resistant Solid Electrolytes

University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)
ARPA-E Award: 
Las Vegas, NV
Project Term: 
02/14/2013 to 02/13/2016
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Most of today's electric vehicles (EVs) are powered by lithium-ion (Li-Ion) batteries--the same kind of batteries used in cell phones and laptop computers. Currently, most Li-Ion batteries used in EVs provide a driving range limited to 100 miles on a single charge and account for more than half of the total cost of the vehicle. To compete in the market with gasoline-based vehicles, EVs must cost less and drive farther. An EV that is cost-competitive with gasoline would require a battery with twice the energy storage of today's state-of-the-art Li-Ion battery at 30% of the cost.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is developing a solid-state, non-flammable electrolyte to make today's Li-Ion vehicle batteries safer. Today's Li-Ion batteries use a flammable liquid electrolyte--the material responsible for shuttling Li-Ions back and forth across the battery--that can catch fire when overheated or overcharged. UNLV will replace this flammable electrolyte with a fire-resistant material called lithium-rich anti-perovskite. This new electrolyte material would help make vehicle batteries safer in an accident while also increasing battery performance by extending vehicle range and acceleration.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, UNLV's new fire-resistant solid electrolyte for EV batteries would increase the Li-Ion transporting rate by 10-100 times and greatly enhance the energy density and power capacity of today's best Li-Ion solid-state batteries.
Increased use of EVs would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil--the transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.
Greater use of EVs would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.
The ability to make higher performance batteries at a lower cost will give U.S. battery manufactures a significant and enduring advantage over their foreign competitors.
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Paul Albertus
Project Contact: 
Dr. Yusheng Zhao
K2 Energy Solutions, Inc
University of Texas, Austin
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Release Date: