Driving range, safety, and cost remain the biggest hurdles in the way of mass electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Innovative approaches to EV battery manufacturing present the opportunity to maximize stored energy relative to the weight of EVs, allowing for up to three times the driving range. These new battery chemistries and designs prevent overheating, are immune to catastrophic failure, and can be incorporated into the structure of a vehicle to improve strength in some cases. Much of this can be accomplished at a 30% lower cost compared to conventional batteries, thus bolstering widespread adoption of EVs.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is developing a low-cost battery system that uses safe and inexpensive organic energy storage materials that can be pumped in and out of the system. NREL’s battery, known as a “liquid-phase organic redox system,” uses newly developed non-flammable compounds from biological sources to reduce cost while improving the amount of energy that can be stored. The battery’s unique construction will enable a 5-minute “fast-charge” and promote long life by allowing for the rapid replacement of liquid electrodes. NREL anticipates an energy density of approximately 590 watt hours per liter with a cost of only $72 per kilowatt hour.
If successful, NREL’s liquid organic electrodes would improve the energy density, safety, and rechargeability of EV batteries while reducing manufacturing costs through the use of inexpensive materials.
The mass adoption of EVs would diminish the demand for petroleum, dramatically reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
Greater use of EVs would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.
Technological advancements from the RANGE program could enable EVs to travel significantly further on a single charge at a much lower cost than that of current EVs and conventional vehicles.