Conventional electrolytes (a key component of modern energy storage systems) decompose at higher voltages, limiting the energy density of batteries and electrochemical capacitors. This raises the cost and lowers the capacity of energy storage systems, increasing the cost and decreasing the range of electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. Improved electrolytes would lead to higher-density, lower-cost energy storage systems that would be a key enabler for a host of applications, including electric vehicles.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
The University of California, San Diego (UC San Diego) is developing an early-stage concept for an advanced electrochemical energy storage system. If successful, the new approach would enable higher-energy density and higher-power systems that are able to operate over a much wider temperature and voltage range than today’s technologies. Similar to how water is used as a suspension medium for the acid in a conventional lead-acid car battery, the research team is studying the use of certain gases liquefied under pressure as solvents in novel electrolyte systems. The team’s work will enhance our understanding of the electrochemical mechanisms involved, and demonstrate their energy storage and cycling capabilities. The work will evaluate the new electrolyte solvents for safety, non-toxicity, non-flammability, performance and cost compared to the traditional organic solvents used today.