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Low-Cost, High-Performance Lithium-Sulfur Batteries

PolyPlus Battery Company
A Revolutionary Approach to High-Energy Density, Low-Cost Lithium-Sulfur Batteries
PolyPlus
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$4,500,000
Location: 
Berkeley, CA
Project Term: 
02/06/2013 to 03/31/2016
Project Status: 
ALUMNI
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: 
PolyPlus Battery Company is developing an innovative, water-based Lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) battery. Today, Li-S battery technology offers the lightest high-energy batteries that are completely self-contained. New features in these water-based batteries make PolyPlus' lightweight battery ideal for a variety of military and consumer applications. The design could achieve energy densities between 400-600 Wh/kg, a substantial improvement from today's state-of-the-art Li-Ion batteries that can hold only 150 Wh/kg. PolyPlus' technology--with applications for vehicle transportation as well as grid storage--would be able to transition to a widespread commercial and military market.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, PolyPlus' Li-S battery would improve upon the performance, cost, and life span of today's best batteries for EVs and grid storage applications.
Security: 
Increased use of EVs would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil--the transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.
Environment: 
Greater use of EVs would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.
Economy: 
The ability to make higher performance batteries at a lower cost would give U.S. battery manufacturers a significant and enduring advantage over their foreign competitors.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact: 
Dr. Steve Visco
Release Date: 
11/28/2012