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Sound Wave-Enabled Battery Analysis

Feasible

Electrochemical-Acoustic Signal Interrogation Analysis of Batteries

Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$1,800,000
Location: 
Berkeley, CA
Project Term: 
08/23/2017 to 08/22/2019
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 

Batteries are complex systems, and developing techniques to cost-effectively monitor and manage important performance measures while predicting battery cell degradation and failure remains a key technological challenge. There is a critical need for breakthrough technologies that can be practically deployed for superior management of both electric vehicle batteries and renewable energy storage systems.

Project Innovation + Advantages: 

Feasible will develop a non-invasive, low-cost, ultrasonic diagnostic system that links the electrochemical reactions taking place inside a battery with changes in how sound waves propagate through the battery. This Electrochemical Acoustic Signal Interrogation (EASI) analysis will bridge the gap in battery diagnostics between structural insights and electrical measurements, offering both speed and scalability. The physical processes of a battery that affect performance are nearly impossible to monitor with standard diagnostic methods. EASI can provide insights into the battery development, manufacturing, and management life cycle. This capability is enabled by acoustic analysis, which is a fundamentally new tool in its application to batteries, and will aid cell design and development, improve manufacturing quality and yield thereby decreasing cost, and decrease inefficiencies in battery utilization and system design. During a prior ARPA-E IDEAS award, Princeton University developed the proof of concept for this technology that linked the propagation of sound waves through a battery to the state of the material components within the battery. Now, as Feasible Inc., the team will further the development of their sensing techniques and build a database of acoustic signatures for different battery chemistries, form factors, and use conditions. If successful, this ultrasonic diagnostic system will lead to improved battery quality, safety, and performance of electric vehicle and grid energy storage systems via two avenues: (1) more thorough and efficient cell screening during production, and (2) physically relevant information to better inform battery management strategies.

Potential Impact: 

If successful, Feasible's project will allow companies to build models that link the mechanical and electrochemical properties of full batteries, useful for materials development to quality control to battery management systems.

Security: 

Advances in energy storage management could reduce the cost and increase the adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage technologies, which in turn would reduce our nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy.

Environment: 

Improving the reliability and safety of electric vehicles and renewable energy storage facilities would enable more widespread use of these technologies, resulting in a substantial reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Economy: 

Enabling alternatives to conventional sources of energy could insulate consumers, businesses, and utilities from unexpected price swings.

Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Patrick McGrath
Project Contact: 
Andrew Hsieh
Release Date: 
8/12/2012