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BATT Program Awards More Than $8 Million for Innovative Research Projects on Lithium Battery Anodes

The Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies (BATT) Program is awarding more than $8 million to eight R&D projects on lithium battery anodes. BATT is funded by the Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technologies and is managed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as part of its Carbon Cycle 2.0 initiative.

The FY 2010 BATT Request for Proposals on the “Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Anode Materials and Structures for Use in Lithium Batteries” has resulted in new projects that can help accelerate the application of such batteries in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles. These projects focus on developing next-generation anodes to increase the energy and decrease the cost of lithium batteries while maintaining safety and cycle life.

The awardees include two national laboratories, five universities, and one private non-profit research institute. The total requested funds are $8.54 million over four years. The selected projects are:

BATT Li-ion Anode Project Awards
GranteeProjectDescription
Argonne National Laboratory
(Michael Thackeray, Jack Vaughey, Lynn Trahey)
Three-Dimensional Anode Architectures and Materials This project will design high surface-area metal foam architectures as substrates for metal or intermetallic anodes. These new architectures will be superior to conventional laminated electrodes due to the enhanced stability derived from direct chemical bonding of the active materials to the current collector. The goal is to design anodes that will deliver a reversible capacity of at least 500 mAh/g with a lifetime of at least 500 cycles.
Binghamton University
(Stanley Whittingham)
Metal-Based High-Capacity Li-Ion Anodes This project will synthesize nano-sized metal-based anodes, with most emphasis being placed on nano-tin. Additionally, other electroactive species will be incorporated so that greater lithium insertion rates can be obtained for safe and faster charging. The goal is to develop anodes with volumetric energy densities that approach double those of current carbon anodes, while still maintaining at least 400 mAh/g.
Drexel University
(Yury Gogotsi, Michel Barsoum)
New Layered Nanolaminates for Use in Lithium Battery Anodes This project will explore a new class of materials combining the laminate structure of graphite with silicon, tin and other elements that can provide a higher lithium uptake per atom and lead to an improved capacity. The goal is to offer combined advantages of graphite and silicon anodes with a higher capacity than graphite and less expansion, longer cycle life, and a lower cost than silicon nanoparticles.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the University of Colorado
(Anne Dillon, Steven George, Se-Hee Lee)
Atomic Layer Deposition for Stabilization of Amorphous Silicon Anodes This project will use atomic layer deposition to coat amorphous-silicon anodes with an artificial solid electrolyte interphase layer to help minimize degradation upon volume expansion of the silicon during charging. In addition, flexible organic coatings will be deposited via molecular layer deposition to accommodate this volume change. The goal is to produce an anode with unprecedented high capacity and high rate that is capable of thousands of cycles.
Pennsylvania State University
(Donghai Wang, Michael Hickner)
Synthesis and Characterization of Polymer-Coated Layered SiOx-Graphene Nanocomposite Anodes This project will synthesize anodes targeted to reach specific capacity of more than 1,500 mAh/g with minimal capacity fading in 500 cycles at 1C rates. The layered structure of graphene sheets and SiOx nanoparticles can accommodate volume change or phase transformation of the SiOx materials by providing good electric contact between highly conductive graphene layers during charge/discharge processes, leading to enhanced cycling stability. An elastic binder polymer with Li-ion conductivity will be used to further accommodate volume change.
Southwest Research Institute
(Kwai S. Chan, Michael Miller, Wuwei Liang)
Synthesis and Characterization of Silicon Clathrates for Anode Applications in Lithium-Ion Batteries This project aims to synthesize silicon clathrate anodes that are designed to exhibit a volume expansion of only 9%, compared with 300% for the lithiation of crystalline silicon. Because of the small volume changes during lithiation, silicon clathrate anodes have the potential for high specific energy density, while avoiding capacity fading and improving battery life.
Stanford University
(Yi Cui)
Wiring Up Silicon Nanoparticles for High-Performance Lithium-Ion Battery Anodes This project will explore a hierarchical porous electrode concept to wire up silicon nanoparticles, which can be synthesized at low cost and in large scale. In addition, this project will investigate strategies to limit electrolyte penetration into the silicon nanoparticle anode and will modify the nanoparticle surface to obtain a stable solid electrolyte interphase layer for long-term cycling.
University of Pittsburgh
(Prashant Kumta)
Nanoscale Heterostructures and Thermoplastic Resin Binders: Novel Li-Ion Anode Systems This project will use cost-effective methods to synthesize amorphous silicon and Li-Si alloys and carbon- and boron-based heterostructures. In addition, this project will explore thermoplastic resin binders with chemical, physical, and electrochemical attributes superior to the currently used poly-vinylidene fluoride for keeping silicon particles in contact and preventing electrode cracking during cycling. The project goals include reversible capacities exceeding 2000 mAh/g and high rate capability.

The BATT program received 88 white papers and encouraged 28 applicants to submit full proposals. A selection committee composed of leading lithium battery experts reviewed each proposal and recommended eight for funding.

BATT is the premier fundamental research program in the US for developing high-performance, rechargeable batteries for electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.

Comments

HarveyD

Only 8 essential R&D projects and only $8M. Considering the pressing needs for improved lower cost battery electrodes, many more projects and 10x to 100x more funds would be justified. Other countries should also contribute more R&D to accelerate battery evolution. It is the key to practical EVs.

SJC

This is where an X prize would work. There are SO many ideas that need to be tried ASAP, we need 100s of labs working on this.

JerseyGeoff

I agree that this is an excellent field for an 'X" prize. At the same time I'm wondering if any of these ' experts' have looked at the state of the battery art today?
Altairnano has a titanium nano deposition process that enables extremely high rates of charge--wonder if they could improve it with a few million bucks here or there?

SJC

Funding for new ideas and companies is THE bottleneck in the U.S. economy. If we funded the 1000s of great ideas we could employ millions of people in high paying stable jobs. The housing industry would come back without lowering the loan standards causing a bubble.

wintermane2000

This is just one of many such projects going on all the time.

Craig Shields

HarveyD makes an excellent point. By a recent estimate we the humble taxpayers pay $550 billion a year in a steady and predictable stream of subsidies and tax breaks to dirty fuels while renewables have to woo investors backed by a spotty record of fits and starts in government funding and support that look ant-like by comparison to the dirty fuel elephant.

SJC likewise sagely observes that there's an employment boom to be found in the support of renewable energy technologies. Here's a little more discussion on that:

http://2greenenergy.com/renewable-energy-and-the-job-market/2413/

Government funds gave us the post office, the national highway system, the microchip, and the internet. The chief mandates of any good government are to provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare.

If we continue to fail to use our collective strength - a democratic republic and its power to tax and spend - to wean ourselves off of oil, we'll be defenseless against energy blackmail and quickly bereft of any control over our well-being.

Craig Shields, Editor, 2GreenEnergy.com, and author, Renewable Energy - Facts and Fantasies (2010)

SJC

Thank you Craig, sometimes it is good to keep the greater goals in mind.

HarveyD

Thank you Craig, USA should be moving away from oil addiction (and subsidies to oil firms) at an accelerated pace. We all know that many $$$B in R&D, new factories and re-training are required. It may be the opportunity to put 8M people back to work. An all azimuth multi $$$B special (clean energy and electrification) program may be required.

In the long term, all the resources currently wasted with an extra 8M unemployed, would pay for most of the cost involved.

DaveD

Imagine taking away the ~$45Billion we give in subsidies, zero interest loans and write offs to the oil industry. Imagine making them pay US taxes on their Revenues rather than allowing them to operate in the US and locate their "Headquarters" on some island in the Caymans where they don't pay a SINGLE PENNY of the taxes they should be paying in the US (more than $100Billion in taxes easily that the rest of us have to make up for).
Imagine taking the $1.03 TRILLION DOLLARS that we have allocated to military spending this year (which includes the Iraq, Afghan wars) and cutting that back to say ~$600Billion a year...which still makes our military larger than every other military in the developed world COMBINED.
Imagine taking the $400Billion a year we spend buying foreign oil and using it to spur domestic job growth.

Imagine taking only $100Billion of all the money we saved above and using it to invest in clean energy jobs and EVs here in the US. Imagine taking the other $500Billion a year we save and using it to pay down the national debt.

Imagine all what this country would look like if we got our heads out of our A$$ for about 24 months...You think our country might be a little better off maybe???

SJC

Just the money spent on Iraq could have built fuel plants and solar fields. No one said it was rational, but this is what we get.

HarveyD

Good points DaveD and SJC. It seems that the current political structure has deviated in favor of a few who benefit from expensive wars, oil addiction, over sized vehicles, cheap unhealthy junk food etc..

To change direction will not be easy because the majority of us has been brain washed for decades and strongly believe that we have to wage expensive wars, drive 4-ton V-8 4 x4 gas guzzlers, use more and more energy, eat more and more junk foods full of lower cost high fructose corn syrup sugar and salt to produce more and more heart problems etc. Many need to be de-programmed. The best place to start may be in kinder gardens because most brained washed adults are too difficult to fix. A prolong economic recession could help to bring real values to mature minds (sometimes).

Romans had a similar problem 15 centuries ago and the cure lasted almost 10 centuries.

Reel$$

OK. Someone has to be a voice of reason here. We ARE on the best energy path the Earth has recently experienced. Granted it is only the beginning, but it IS a beginning. In 90 days the first mass PHEVs and EVs will be on the showroom floor. You CAN buy a Volt or Leaf TODAY.

And we are learning the benefits of applying a little self will. Like any over-eater, with attention to weight control arriving by regulating diet - we can control over consumption. This means a hard look at the fat and sugars in diet and leadership (thank you Michelle O) to address obesity.

People don't need programming or deprogramming. They need to see how healthy we can be with good diet (food and energy) exercise, and access to knowledge. As for the $$ - DaveD is mostly on target. Military and foreign oil expenses could be applied to alternatives which will increase energy security. President O IS using fed funds to expand alternatives into a major jobs campaign. A good path. More is coming. Self will implies patience too.

DaveD

You are right Reel$$, we are making a start. People are starting to realize that a few EVs are for sale. That we can get off our oil addiction, at least some day. They do seem to be getting the message that high fructose corn syrup is essentially a slow acting poison that causes those bulges around your mid section.

But overall, I am just amazed at the number of people who simply don't know any of this goes on. People don't know that we subsidize oil. They don't realize that our total spending on defense and the two wars for 2010 is $1.03 Trillion. They don't know the money to do all that comes out of the income taxes that we all pay. They don't know that Exxon, etc doesn't pay US taxes.

What we should be doing is educating people that they are paying a huge tax to keep oil flowing. It's called income tax. The taxes you pay TODAY are used to pay for oil people! Why is that ok with everyone?

Answer: because they simply don't know that it is happening. There is not a sign on a gas pump that says, "Dear Mr. John Q. & Jane Q. Public, 43% of the money you paid for income taxes this year is paying for this gasoline"

But you can bet your a$$ that it DOES say "18.7 cents per gallon gas tax" on that pump. And everyone freaks out about it. How much does that 18.7 cent "open gas tax" cost the average person? About $100 a year.

How much does that "hidden" 43% of your income tax cost you???


HarveyD

Knowledge is number one tool used to convince (brain washed?) people. That is why fuel retailers show the gas tax is large numbers and NOT the subsidies they get nor the income taxes they DO NOT pay.

Selective knowledge (partial truth and lies) are and were used to sell deadly tobacco and harmful junk food. Death from heart related diseases went up from 4% to 40% in the last few decades due to poor manufactured food, containing too much cheaper high fructose corn syrup and sodium, without corrective regulations. We will probably soon learn that the huge increase in various types of cancers are mostly man made. Meanwhile, we spent $$$B on corrective medicine (because the profit margins are good) and very little preventative measure (because there are no short term profits for health care enterprises). Justice could penalize those enterprises who made us sick for so long and then sold us high price drugs to try to cure the problems they created.

We are overdue for some major corrections.

Reel$$

Dave, Harvey, we are on the same page. I would like to see expanded food/diet knowledge in our school systems. As a part of regular class structure, phys ed programs and science. Many children today have never eaten a REAL tomato - grown in a local garden. When they do - check out their reaction. Better than an adult driving his first EV!

Healthy fuel - be it for our machines or our bodies is probably the most urgent need for education. Next we can tackle population with all its complex social issues. But once we are eating and energizing with sustainable resources - we are better positioned to talk about over-crowding the planet.

What is welcome and inspirational is the growing community of wise souls willing to help us on this mission. We are grateful for their dedication and assistance. It is a worthwhile journey.

doggydogworld

Exxon says they paid 63b in total US taxes from 2005-09. This is not just income tax but also sales tax, severance tax, etc. In other communications Exxon says they did have 2009 US income tax liability but they overpaid in 2008 enough to offset that. The spokesman refused to give any actual numbers, though, so it's hard to tell what's going on.

http://www.exxonmobil.com/corporate/energy_issues_taxes.aspx

Tax-dodging via offshore subsidiaries is a real problem, but it's not as clear-cut as most clowns in the media and on message boards say. A Norwegian company who operates entirely in Norway will, obviously, pay Norwegian taxes. If GE buys that company should they continue to pay Norwegian taxes? Sure. Should they additionally pay US taxes, just because of a change in ownership? That's what the clowns say. But such double-taxation can create situations where it's mathematically impossible to profit. Simple-minded zealots never consider the absurd implications of their childish world view.

SJC

If Exxon takes in more than $400 billion in revenue in a year, but pays as little as possible in taxes, then someone else has to take up the tax burden. If the Fortune 1000 companies all paid an average of $1 billion in taxes each, that would be close to 30% of the federal budget. ALL corporations together do not even pay 7% of the national budget.

HarveyD

Corporations have learned (a very long time ago) to move to countries with the lowest (Corporation) income taxes. An international agreement would be required to introduce and enforce a minimum Corporation income tax. A 0.01% international transaction tax was flatly refused at the last G-20 meeting. Even something as low as an Internationally applied 1% Corporation income tax would never fly.

A goods and services sale tax (applicable to all including Corporation, Banks, Insurances etc) may be easier to harmonize.

SJC

Stanley tools was going to take their central office off shore to save taxes. The unions told them that they would never sell another tool to union workers. They stayed in the U.S. and pay their taxes today.

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