Oak Ridge National Laboratory Selects Four Companies for Collaborative Advanced Battery Research; 4 CRADAs with A123, Dow Kokam, Porous Power and Planar Energy
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has selected four companies selected through a competitive-solicitation process to collaborate in a US Department of Energy research-and-development initiative at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to address energy-storage challenges presented by lithium-based batteries.
After receiving $3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding in August through DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Industrial Technologies Program (ITP), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) issued a competitive solicitation to industry for proposals addressing key problems centered around lithium-ion battery manufacturing science, advanced materials processing, quality control and processing scale-up. An independent council comprising ORNL and DOE representatives selected proposals from companies across the country.
As part of ORNL’s efforts to advance battery materials and processing technology under the ARRA funding, individual Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) have been signed with: A123 Systems, for domestic supply of anode materials; Dow Kokam, for processing and characterization of novel cathodes; Porous Power Technologies, for improved separator materials; and Planar Energy, for scalable processing of solid-state batteries.
In each case, industry cost-share exceeds 50% of the total project cost.
By leveraging our expertise in materials science and manufacturing, ORNL will assist these partners with their individual energy storage challenges and address opportunities to surpass non-domestic secondary battery manufacturers that dominate today’s market.
—ORNL’s Energy Materials Program Director Craig Blue
Secondary lithium-ion cell manufacturing encompasses a broad range of disciplines including formulation chemistry, film casting, polymer processing, materials and composite design, interfacial science and component engineering.
In addition to ITP and industry funding, EERE’s Vehicle Technologies Program (VTP) is contributing funding to directly support the CRADA efforts, each of which comprises part of the battery supply chain. Two of the companies, A123 and Dow Kokam, were awarded DOE battery manufacturing grants, as well as Michigan refundable tax credits to construct battery manufacturing facilities in Michigan. Accordingly, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) is also providing funding to ORNL’s overall battery research effort to help ensure success of the industry.
According to ORNL’s David Wood, co-principal investigator and technical lead on the project, collaborative research is expected to take place during the next 18 months.