ARPA-E RANGE: $20M for robust transformational energy storage systems for EVs; 3x the range at 1/3 the cost
The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000869) for about $20 million for the development of transformational electrochemical energy storage technologies intended to accelerate widespread electric vehicle adoption by significantly improving driving range, cost, and reliability. ARPA-E anticipates making approximately 8- 12 awards under this FOA.
The Robust Affordable Next Generation EV-Storage (RANGE) program’s goal is to enable a 3X increase in electric vehicle range (from ~80 to ~240 miles per charge) with a simultaneous price reduction of > 1/3 (to ~ $30,000). If successful, these vehicles will provide near cost and range parity to gasoline-powered ICE vehicles, ARPA-E said.
RANGE is focused on supporting chemistry and system concepts in energy storage with robust designs in one or both of:
Category 1: Low-cost, rechargeable energy storage chemistries and architectures with robust designs;
Category 2: Multifunctional energy storage designs.
ARPA-E defines robust design as electrochemical energy storage chemistries and/or architectures (i.e. physical designs) that avoid thermal runaway and are immune to catastrophic failure regardless of manufacturing quality or abuse conditions.
Examples of robust designs cited by ARPA-E include: the development of an electrochemical energy storage chemistry that utilizes non-combustible aqueous or solid state electrolytes; the use of a redox flow battery architecture that is inherently more robust due to the physical separation (storage) of its active components far from the cell electrodes; and the design of a mechanism that allows a battery to automatically fail in open circuit when placed under abuse conditions.
Robust designs can transform EV design and create new pathways to dramatically lower cost by: 1) reducing the demands on system-level engineering and its associated weight and cost; 2) liberating the energy storage system from the need for vehicle impact protection, which allows the energy storage to be positioned anywhere on the vehicle, thereby freeing-up the EV design; and 3) enabling multiple functions, such as assisting vehicle crash energy management and carrying structural load.
For this first category, examples of technical approaches include but are not limited to:
High specific energy aqueous batteries. Areas of particular interest are approaches to novel high specific energy cathode/anode redox couples; materials and device designs for long life metal-air systems; ultrahigh capacity negative electrode materials to replace La-Ni alloys in nickel metal hydride batteries; and organic and inorganic redox couples, including their hybrids.
Ceramic and other solid electrolyte batteries. Areas of particular interests are high conductivity inorganic electrolytes for lithium and other alkaline metal ion systems; and solid state and hybrid battery designs and low cost manufacturing processes.
Other batteries completely without or with negligible combustible or flammable materials.
Materials and architectures that eliminate the possibility of thermal runaway.
Robust design architectures. Examples include flow cells and electrically rechargeable fuel cells, fail open circuited designs, non-propagating system architectures, and designs resulting in reductions in individual storage unit sizes and energy contents.
Hybridization of different energy storage chemistries and architectures to offer improved robustness including mechanical abuse tolerance.
The second objective of RANGE is to fund the development of multifunctional energy storage systems. Robust design characteristics may enable energy storage systems to simultaneously serve other functions on an electric vehicle. Energy storage systems which absorb impulse energy during a vehicle crash and/or which carry mechanical load are of particular interest, ARPA-E suggested. Both of these functions are expected to extend the EV’s operating range by reducing the vehicle’s overall weight.
For Category 2, examples of technical approaches include but are not limited to:
Energy storage systems that assist vehicle impact energy management. Areas of particular interest are material, cell, pack, and system designs that act synergistically with the rest of the vehicle structure to manage mechanical impact. Energy absorption mechanisms may include deformation, disintegration, and disengagement by design.
Energy storage systems that act as structural members. In this case, the energy storage system may directly replace other structural members of the vehicle in the load path.
Energy storage systems that serve other vehicle functions not listed above.
ARPA-E anticipates that the core technologies developed under this program will advance all categories of electrified vehicles (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, extended-range electric, and all-electric vehicles); however, the primary focus of this program is on all-electric vehicles.
Technical performance targets. The final research objective for projects funded under this FOA is a fully integrated energy storage unit with energy content of 1 kWh or greater. ARPA-E is setting primary technical targets of:
- Cost to manufacture: < 100 - 125 $/kWh
- Effective specific energy:￼> 150 Wh/kg
- Effective energy density:> 230 Wh/L
Secondary technical targets are:
- Cycle life at 80% depth of discharge (DOD): > 1000
- Calendar life: > 10 years
- Effective specific Power – Discharge, 80% DOD/30 s: > 300 W/kg
- Operating temperature: >-30 °C (a higher bound is not defined)
Specifically not of interest to ARPA-E are:
Applications that fall outside the technical parameters, including but not limited to: incremental improvements to Li-ion components that have little potential to reduce system complexity, weight, and cost; approaches that employ higher specific energy cells coupled with a reduction in packing factor; incremental improvements to mechanical protection structures for energy storage systems; sensing,monitoring,and modeling of lithium-ion battery cells and systems that improve diagnosis but do not reduce system cost and improve crash worthiness; and energy storage technologies with significantly lower performance than lithium-ion batteries at a vehicle level, unless they are offered as part of a system solution that meet program metrics.
Applications that were already submitted to pending ARPA-E FOAs. Also, applications that are not scientifically distinct from applications submitted to pending ARPA-E FOAs.
Applications for basic research aimed at discovery and fundamental knowledge generation.
Applications for large-scale demonstration projects of existing technologies.
Applications for proposed technologies that represent incremental improvements to existing technologies.
Applications for proposed technologies that are not based on sound scientific principles (e.g., violates a law of thermodynamics).
Applications for proposed technologies that do not have the potential to become disruptive in nature.
ARPA-E also published a list of potential teaming partners for the RANGE FOA.