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Novel Polymer-Enabled Rechargeable Aluminum-Alkaline Battery Technology

Ionic Materials
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$1,999,999
Location: 
Woburn, MA
Project Term: 
04/01/2019 to 03/31/2021
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
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:
Security: 
Contribute to energy storage solutions for transportation, lessening effects of fossil fuel price volatility
Environment: 
Speed the electrification of transportation and the transition to clean and renewable sources of energy
Economy: 
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
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact: 
Dr. Mike Zimmerman
Partners
Ames National Laboratory
Release Date: 
11/15/2018