The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded 24 million hours of supercomputing time to investigate materials for developing lithium air batteries, capable of powering a car for 500 miles on a single charge. (Earlier post.) The 24 million hours are part of a total of approximately 1.6 billion supercomputing processor hours DOE awarded to 69 research projects through the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program.
Using the Li-air award, a research team including scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory and IBM will use two of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to design new materials required for a lithium-air battery. The calculations will be performed at both Oak Ridge and Argonne, which house two of the world’s top ten fastest computers.
The INCITE program provides a collection of unique computational resources that enable scientists and engineers to conduct cutting-edge research in weeks or months rather than the years needed previously. The use of scientific modeling can accelerate scientific breakthroughs in areas such as climate change, alternative energy, life sciences, and materials science.Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason said the battery project was the result of two visits to Oak Ridge in 2009 by IBM’s vice president of research. “From those discussions, it became apparent that our partnership had many of the unique capabilities needed to tackle a scientific problem as important and challenging as increasing by more than a factor of 10 the energy stored in batteries for transportation.”
Argonne is committed to developing lithium air technologies. The obstacles to Li-air batteries becoming a viable technology are formidable, but the modeling and simulation capabilities of DOE’s supercomputers will help us accelerate the innovations required in materials science, chemistry and engineering.
—Argonne Director Eric Isaacs