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Novel Polymer-Enabled Rechargeable Aluminum-Alkaline Battery Technology

Ionic Materials
ARPA-E Award: 
Woburn, MA
Project Term: 
04/01/2019 to 03/31/2021
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) is currently the battery in many electric vehicle (EV) as well as other applications. Li-ion batteries (LIBs) are energy-dense but expensive and potentially dangerous due to fire risks. Innovations in LIBs development and manufacturing have significantly reduced these batteries' cost of energy per kilowatt hour (kWh); however, cost reduction opportunities are plateauing. 2025 predictions for EV battery pack level costs are $200/kWh. The high cost of the EV battery pack makes it an expensive vehicle component proportionally to driving range. There is a need to reduce costs for wider adoption.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Ionic Materials will develop a more energy dense (by volume and mass) rechargeable battery based on an aluminum-alkaline chemistry. At the center of Ionic Materials' innovation is a new polymer-based material that suppresses the formation of undesired chemical products that prevent aluminum-alkaline batteries from recharging. Aluminum is a highly abundant natural resource and costs much less than cobalt, nickel, and lithium, key elements in today's state-of-the-art batteries. Aluminum-alkaline chemistries are also inherently safer than LIBs, making them more appropriate for use in electric vehicle and residential applications.
Potential Impact: 
Ionic Materials has invented a novel polymer material that has the potential to revolutionize energy storage by facilitating significant improvements in battery performance, cost, and safety. These improvements promise to:
Contribute to energy storage solutions for transportation, lessening effects of fossil fuel price volatility
Speed the electrification of transportation and the transition to clean and renewable sources of energy
Establish U.S. businesses as technical leaders in energy storage, encouraging greater use of readily available renewable resources and increasing the competitiveness of electric vehicles
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact: 
Dr. Mike Zimmerman
Ames National Laboratory
Release Date: