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Long-Range Li-Ion Batteries for Electric Vehicles

Inorganic Specialists

Silicon-Coated Nanofiber Paper as a Lithium-Ion Anode

Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$1,640,916
Location: 
Miamisburg, OH
Project Term: 
12/01/2009 to 11/03/2011
Project Status: 
CANCELLED
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. Most Li-Ion battery packs have a driving range limited to 100 miles on a single charge and account for nearly 65% of the total cost of EVs. 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: 

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.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, Inorganic Specialists' Li-Ion battery would provide more energy storage capacity and range for EVs than today's state-of-the-art batteries--facilitating a shift from gasoline-fueled vehicles to EVs.

Security: 

Widespread use of EVs would help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil because our transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.

Environment: 

EVs would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from cars, trucks, and other gasoline-powered vehicles.

Economy: 

This project would enable EVs that could travel from Chicago to St. Louis (300 miles) on a single battery charge, costing $10 on average.

Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Dane Boysen
Project Contact: 
David Firsich
Partners
Ultramet
EMTEC
Southeast Nonwovens
EaglePicher
Release Date: 
10/26/2009