California Energy Commission awards almost $1.6M for energy research projects; $600K to Seeo for solid-state Li-ion grid-storage battery system
|Conventional Li-ion cell (left) compared to Seeo cell (right). Click to enlarge.|
The California Energy Commission has awarded $1,585,490 to spur research on projects including a solid-state Li-ion battery system for grid-scale energy storage. Funds for the 13 projects come from the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program.
Commissioners approved $600,000 to Seeo Inc. to develop and test a 25 kWh prototype battery system based on nanostructured polymer electrolytes. The project plans to develop a solid-state grid-scale prototype for advanced lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that addresses the safety, cost, lifetime and energy density issues associated with lithium-ion batteries. The project is intended to help validate the performance advantages of the company’s technology for use in grid-tied energy storage and community energy storage—i.e., less than 100 kW distributed energy storage systems alongside pad-mounted and pole-mounted transformers—applications.
The Commission’s funding is the cost-share for the company’s $6.2 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act award from the US Department of Energy. The total cost of the project is $12.4 million. Seeo is contributing $5.6 million for the project. (Earlier post.)
The 25 kWh battery pack represents a more than a 50% improvement in weight and energy density; has 10-15+ year operating life with 3,000-5,000 or more cycles; has no volatile or flammable components; and will be 35% cheaper than existing lithium-ion batteries. This approach allows independent control over mechanical and electrical properties.
Seeo’s cell design couples a solid lithium metal anode with a conventional porous lithium iron phosphate cathode yielding a pouch cell energy density of 235 Wh/kg and 410 Wh/l. The cell can withstand temperatures as high as 150°C and voltages of 10 volts without incident.
Seeo is targeting the production of a total of 1,000 cells with optimized power and energy by December 2011, with final pack design by June 2012. Prototype pack assembly is to be complete by January 2013, with complete prototype pack performance testing and validation by September 2013.
At the core of Seeo’s technology is a novel solid polymer electrolyte material that can transport Li ions while providing inherently safe and stable support for very high energy electrode chemistries. Seeo’s proprietary electrolyte and cell technologies had been in development for nearly ten years within the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and now at Seeo. The company has more than 30 pending patent applications.
Seeo was founded in 2007 with an exclusive license to advanced technology from LBNL, and with initial funding from Khosla Ventures.
The remaining projects are from PIER’s Energy Innovations Small Grant (EISG) program. The program provides money to small businesses, non-profits, individuals and academic institutions to conduct research that establishes the feasibility of new, innovative energy concepts. These grants are capped at $95,000.
The 12 EISG projects approved were:
CHA Corporation of McClellan will receive $95,000 for a project to demonstrate microwave-based hydrogen production from biogas for reciprocating engines and fuel cells.
nLiten Energy Corporation of Mountain View will receive $95,000 to prove the feasibility of growing thin-film three-dimensional solar cells using self-assembled nanowires onto a low-cost substrate. This technology would increase efficiency and lower production costs.
University of California at San Diego will receive $95,000 to reduce the cost of biomass power generation by removing tar from the producer gas in the gasifier.
Membrane Technology and Research Inc. of Menlo Park will receive $94,995 to reduce the environmental impacts of the natural gas dehydration process.
Green Dot Transportation Inc. of Fremont was awarded $94,953 to study the use of a mechanized charging device to automatically connect plug-in electric vehicles to the grid. This will make electric charging safer and easier.
UC Riverside will receive $94,948 for a project that would reduce the power consumption in a hybrid electric vehicle’s air conditioning system and improve air quality in the vehicle. Energy consumption for the vehicle’s air conditioning system is expected to drop by 10 to 35 percent.
Mission Motor Company of San Francisco was awarded $94,000 to develop a lightweight onboard charging device that can meet the high power demands of an electric vehicle. Making the onboard charger smaller in size and weight will help improve the viability of plug-in electric vehicles.
UC Irvine will receive $91,410 to test a novel monitoring and feedback system to reduce end-use energy consumption in residential buildings in California.
Hal Slater of San Diego will receive $80,625 to design and build a high-efficiency natural gas hot water heater system that uses the city water supply as a geothermal heat source for residential hot water.
Mogavero Notestine Associates of Sacramento was awarded $50,000 to study an innovative community design that locates high-density housing around a minimum five-acre farm. The project will develop methods to compare the potential transportation energy impacts between this concept and a traditional development.
California State University, Northridge was given $49,999 to study the feasibility of using a large-scale system to economically and efficiently generate power from ocean currents near California's coast.
UC Berkeley was awarded $49,560 to prove the feasibility of using a new predictive technology to increase energy production from wind turbines using numerical models with Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology.