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$42m boost for US battery research

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty


The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $42 million in funding for 12 projects to strengthen the local supply chain for advanced batteries in electric vehicles (EVs).

The Electric Vehicles for American Low-Carbon Living (EVs4ALL) programme aims to expand domestic EV adoption by developing batteries that last longer, charge faster, perform efficiently in freezing temperatures and have better overall range retention.

The programme is managed by DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) which selected 12 projects from universities, national laboratories and the private sector.

24M Technologies in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will develop low-cost and fast-charging sodium metal batteries with good low-temperature performance with $3m. The cell design will use 24M’s ultra-thick SemiSolid cathode made up of advanced cobalt-free, nickel-free sodium cathode active material as well as a wide-temperature, fast-charging electrolyte developed using machine learning and a sodium super ionic conductor.

Ampcera in Tuscon, Arizona, will develop a solid-state battery incorporating a thermally modulated cell technology (TMCT), developed by EC Power. This was used in conventional lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries to power buses during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. This uses a high-capacity silicon anode and a high-voltage, nickel-rich lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide cathode. The $2m project will combine the TMCT with a high ion conducting solid-state electrolyte for rapid charging at ambient conditions and cold startup times of less than a minute at ambient temperatures of -20°C, a key challenge for lithium ion battery cells.

Solid Power to develop nickel- and cobalt-free batteries

Project K in Palo Alto, CA,  is developing and commercializing a potassium-ion battery, which operates similarly to Li-ion batteries. The fundamental properties of the potassium-ion system allow it to charge much faster than lithium-ion batteries while also enabling operation at reduced temperatures.

South 8 Technologies will develop high-power Li-ion battery cells with the capacity to charge rapidly using a novel liquefied gas (LiGas) electrolyte with a high energy, low cost, and cobalt-free lithium nickel manganese oxide (LNMO) cathode. 

Tyfast Energy in San Diego will use a new combination of electrode materials and electrolyte chemistry to enable a high-energy density, ultrafast-charging battery with a long cycle life.

In one of the largest awards, Zeta Energy in Houston, Texas, will create a new anode with a high Lithium content that is also highly accessible and rechargeable. The “4m project will use complementary physical and chemical features of the cathode and anode for significantly higher charge rates and long-term stability while also minimizing performance losses at low temperatures.

University research

The Ohio State University will scale its prototype high-power battery technology that can tolerate rapid charging while demonstrating greater lifetimes for Li-ion cells.

The University of Maryland will increase the charge/discharge-rate capability, energy density, and operating temperature window of solid-state lithium metal batteries while Virginia Tech will develop EV batteries using cobalt- and nickel-free cathodes, fast-charging and all-weather electrolytes, and coal-derived fast-charging and high-capacity anodes. By eliminating the use of cobalt and nickel in cathodes, the cathode cost will be reduced by 50%. Additionally, using a coal/carbon/silicon anode will resolve environmental issues of coal waste and reduce anode cost by 75% compared with a graphite anode.

Data tools

Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will develop a novel predictive simulation/modeling and testing framework to evaluate advanced battery material and cell safety at an early stage with $3.7m.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, will look at failure mechanisms, reaction pathways, failure modes and effects, revised testing standards, and new capabilities and tools to help de-risk adoption of next-generation cells for commercial applications.

www.arpa-e.energy.gov


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