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DOE to award almost $20M to new research and development projects for advanced vehicle technologies

15 December 2016

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing a program-wide funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001629) for the Vehicle Technologies Office of up to $19.7 million, subject to appropriations, to support research and development of advanced vehicle technologies, including batteries, lightweight materials, and advanced combustion engines, as well as innovative technologies for energy efficient mobility.

The funding opportunity seeks projects in four areas of interest that apply to light, medium, and heavy-duty on-road vehicles, energy efficient mobility, and transportation infrastructure systems Battery500 Seedling Projects; Integrated Computational Materials Engineering Predictive Tools for Low-Cost Carbon Fiber; Emission Control Strategies for Advanced Combustion Engines; and Energy Efficient Mobility Research and Development.

Battery500 Seedling Projects. This topic seeks proof-of-concept, or seedling projects that complement the VTO Battery500 Consortium’s research to more than double the specific energy (to 500 watt-hours per kilogram) of lithium battery technologies which will result in smaller, lighter weight, less expensive battery packs, and more affordable electric vehicles.

The two technologies being developed in the program are Lithium metal/Sulfur and Lithium metal/high Nickel Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) cells, using solid or concentrated liquid electrolytes. The work is organized into three thrusts:

  1. Materials/Interfaces including mixed conductive coatings and controlled surface reactions

  2. Electrode Architectures including thick, conductive cathode and 3- Dimensional (3D) Li composite structure

  3. Cell Design/Integration including cell modeling, 1-Dimensional (1D) or 2- Dimensional (2D) Li ion conductor, and de-coupled the solid electrolyte interphase reactions

DOE envisions two project phases. Applications must organize tasks and schedule into two Phases. Phase 1 (18 months) should include exploration and selection of materials concepts and characterization of the technology approach with bench testing of a cell to demonstrate Battery500 specific energy technology targets. A competitive down-select process will take place at the end of Phase 1.

Phase 2 (18-30 months) should include design and development of the selected technology concept and improvement of cell performance required to achieve or exceed Battery500 specific energy technology targets. DOE expects 12 test cells will be delivered annually to DOE for testing in phase 2.

Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) Development of Low Cost Carbon Fiber for Lightweight Materials. This topic seeks simultaneously to develop low-cost carbon-fiber (CF) precursor technology to support immediate weight reduction in light-duty vehicles while also advancing Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) techniques to support a reduced development‐to-deployment lead-time in all lightweight materials systems.

For these projects, DOE is defining CF as a material consisting of thin, strong multi-crystalline filaments of carbon used as a reinforcement material, especially in resins also having the following mechanical and cost requirements:

  • Cost at less than or equal to $5/lb (2010 dollars);
  • Strength of greater than or equal to 250Ksi;
  • Modulus of greater than or equal to 25Msi; and
  • Strain of greater than or equal to 1%.

Projects will use an ICME approach to predict, design, develop, and optimize precursor chemistry (petroleum and non-petroleum derived). The ICME approach should employ tools linking micro- to macro-scale models to optimize structure/property and process/property relationships while taking into account uncertainty to predict accurately how a low cost precursor fiber transforms to low cost CF and its properties.

Projects will develop and integrate a suite of computational tools that can accurately predict precursors for low cost carbon fiber. Validation of these tools will yield predictions of the chemical and physical structure of a family of optimized precursors. Models will be validated using actual performance data.

To support this effort and leverage carbon fiber characterization and scale-up resources within the DOE National Laboratory system, DOE is encouraging project teams to interface with the LightMat Consortium.

Emission Control Strategies for Advanced Combustion Engines: This topic aims to develop and demonstrate catalyst materials and after-treatment strategies that enable vehicles with advanced combustion engines to meet Tier 3 emissions standards while achieving breakthrough thermal efficiencies.

This effort is focused on advancing the state-of-the-art catalysis and after-treatment strategies for advanced combustion regimes including, but not limited to, Homogeneous- Charge Compression-Ignition, Lean Stratified Combustion, and Compression-Ignition Gasoline applications for passenger and commercial vehicle applications.

Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Research and Development. This topic seeks to support novel research to develop unique technology solutions that enable energy efficient “smart” mobility systems. Specific emphasis will be given to concepts that support future transportation scenarios allowing for the efficient movement of people and/or goods in a way that maximizes energy efficiency and emissions reduction. Consideration will be given to connected and automated vehicle technologies, solutions applicable to multiple modes of transport suitable for the urban environment, and the fueling/charging infrastructure required to support consumer adoption of efficient mobility systems.

December 15, 2016 in Batteries, Emissions, Engines, Fuel Efficiency, Low Temperature Combustion, Materials, Mobility services | Permalink | Comments (7)


Funding internal combustion engines is a waste of money, especially when so many investors are pulling their money out of fossil fuel:

It would have (most probably) been wiser, to direct resources on increasing performance and reducing cost, of new near future batteries and FC/H2 technologies, to promote lower cost higher performance BEVs and FCEVs.

A 500+ Wh/Kg ultra quick multiple charge, longer lasting (4000+ cycles), lower cost (under $100/kWh) EV battery is required for competitive BEVs.

A half price, 2X performance FC and higher performance electrolysers-compressors are also required for competitive (all sizes, all weather) extended range FCEVs.

I agree it is absurd to invest in new ICE tech when we know we have to make a full transition to zero emission techs soon or this planet will be a much worse place to live on in a hundred years with very high temperatures and oceans rising up to 210 feet because of melting poles. Very few species will survive this much change in such a short time.

Invest only in BEVs from now on and we could phase out all new production of cars with combustion engines by 2030. Make all such production illegal after that time.

The transition to driverless BEVs could be faster if we take advantage of the fact that 80% of all cars drives only transport one person. The driverless BEVs should therefore be made mostly as small 2 person transporters. We can make twice as many of those on the same size BEV factories as compared to a normal sized 5 seat BEV. They can also go nearly twice as long on the kwh so also less fuel cost.

The transition to other forms will take quite a while, no it does NOT impede the transition improving present methods. Let's say we make all I.C.E. vehicles illegal in 2020, the world economy would collapse.

SJC. I agree.

There 4 arts to this funding: Batteries, Lightweighting structures, Emissions and Combined energy efficient transport systems.

I like the last one, which is basically Process or Operations Research Transportation Re-Engineering.

Let's be serious. People move about "Way too Much". Stop ranting about the "Special Place for BEVs". They consume very dirty energy right now. It doesn't matter what folks use to move about. They move about way too much.

Let's clean up all forms of transport. Let's combine the movement of goods and people to be more efficient. This is what this funding is about.

We can approach this from many angles, the either/or method is limited. Reducing fossil fuel consumption while reducing emissions is a good idea.

SJC. You summed what I had in 2 sentences. I guess I ramble.

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