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ARPA-E issues $30M AMPED solicitation for R&D on management and protection of energy storage systems

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has issued the $30-million “Advanced Management and Protection of Energy-storage Devices” (AMPED) funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000675). (Earlier post.) Awards for selected projects may vary between $250,000 and $10 million.

The objective of AMPED is to identify high-impact concepts for providing diagnostic, prognostic, and control capabilities to significantly increase performance and accelerate adoption of energy storage systems.

ARPA-E says there is an opportunity for innovation in design and control of systems to manage the difficulties of maintaining the state of health and safety of batteries. New approaches to achieve higher fidelity, more robust and lower cost sensing and control of the environment across a battery pack are needed.

Advances in energy storage management can rapidly accelerate the widespread adoption of electric vehicles and grid-scale energy storage. Today’s electric vehicles illustrate the potential impact of superior management of energy storage devices. A typical electric or plug-in electric vehicle generally employs between 25% and 100% excess energy capacity (beyond what is required to propel the vehicle) in order to provide a conservative buffer to avoid unwanted cell degradation. A further 25-100% burden on weight, volume, and cost is levied by the various assemblies and components required to safely and reliably interconnect and manage these cells in a full battery pack. In the worst case, this results in a vehicle battery system that is oversized by a factor of four. This overdesign directly translates into added weight, volume, and upfront capital cost to the consumer and presents a major barrier to mass-market adoption of electric vehicles.

Even with such conservatively engineered systems, the safety and lifetime of batteries remain a liability for automakers. Cases of premature failure in automotive batteries have already led to significant consumer dissatisfaction. Meanwhile, automotive OEM concerns over safety have escalated with recent battery recalls and fires, an issue that in recent years cost hundreds of millions of dollars to consumer battery manufacturers in recalls and litigation. Safety and lifetime risks meanwhile prohibit rapid charging of most electric vehicles, which has been shown to be a key market inhibitor. While the full impact of safety concerns on electric vehicle adoption requires further investigation, it is clear that uncertainties over battery safety and life can directly affect the cost and risk of deployment.


The AMPED FOA targets three specific objectives: Safety and Reliability; Performance; and Prognostics.

Safety and Reliability. To constitute a significant improvement over the state-of-the-art, solutions should cost-effectively allow for fail-safe operation without the need for overly conservative energy and power utilization, while minimizing burdensome thermal and isolation system requirements. ARPA-E says that approaches should manage known failure modes as well as those that are unexpected, such as events arising from cell design flaws, manufacturing defects, or unforeseen reactions occurring in use.

AMPED seeks to enable the following new capabilities for improved safety:

  • Real-time detection of internal cell faults. The proposed solution must approach 100% diagnostic sensitivity, and exhibit not less than 95% diagnostic specificity, under normal operation. Applicants must show that the proposed solution is based on a detection mechanism that could credibly detect mechanical faults stemming from a range of sources, including but not limited to, cell design flaws, manufacturing defects, unforeseen reactions, and abusive or aggressive operation.

  • Prevention of catastrophic failure. The proposed solution must demonstrate the ability to prevent catastrophic failure due to internal cell faults with 100% effectiveness.

Performance. AMPED aims to drive adoption of energy storage systems with breakthroughs in performance enabled through superior energy management technologies. This objective area seeks system performance improvement and charge rate improvement.

System performance improvement solutions should demonstrate a significant enhancement in the overall performance of a battery system via a reduction in overdesign (cost, weight, or volume) and/or via an increase in operating performance (lifetime, energy utilization, and/or power utilization) through advances in battery management. Examples of approaches that may be employed to reduce overdesign include:

  • Approaches that enable more accurate state-of-charge (SOC) estimation for overdesign reduction;

  • Approaches that reduce battery management system component mass and/or volume (e.g. wiring, sensors, etc.);

  • Approaches that enable safe and reliable operation of higher-capacity cells, yielding higher packing factor;

  • Approaches that relax requirements on other balance of system components (e.g. thermal, isolation, etc.);

  • Approaches that reduce over-sizing needed to accommodate end-of-life performance For Increasing Operating Performance;

  • Techniques that dynamically control SOC allowance to maximize utilization and/or lifetime, without compromising other key performance metrics; and

  • Approaches that dynamically control power capability at high and low SOC to maximize utilization and/or lifetime, without compromising other key performance metrics.

Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed solution can offer a significant enhancement in the overall performance of a battery system via a reduction in overdesign (cost, weight, or volume) and/or via an increase in operating performance (lifetime, energy utilization, and/or power utilization).

For vehicles, the solution should show a greater than 25% reduction in up-front cost, weight, or volume at the system level vs. what is achievable with state-of-the-art management, without impacting performance. For grid storage, the solution should show a greater than 2X increase in total generated revenue through dispatch of the battery system vs. what is achievable with state-of-the- art management.

Solutions for charge rate improvement should demonstrate the ability to enable charging at significantly higher rates than currently achievable, without compromising system safety, energy density, or lifetime. Examples of approaches that may be employed to achieve this objective include, but are not limited to:

  • Approaches that enable safe charging at higher rates through the prediction or avoidance of incipient cell faults;

  • Approaches that enable safe charging at higher rates through novel approaches to system design and/or control; and

  • Approaches that utilize advanced SOC estimation to adaptively determine charging protocols.

Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed solution can enable commercially viable charging from a depleted state to 80% nameplate capacity at an average rate that is at least 2x faster when compared against charging specifications for the best-in-class commercial system utilizing the same chemistry; and allows for such charging at no greater than 20 minutes.

Prognostics. AMPED seeks to enable improvement in lifetime prediction of advanced battery systems. Solutions should demonstrate the ability to predict how specific duty cycles would impact lifetime of advanced battery systems—more quickly, economically, and with a higher degree of accuracy than currently achievable.

Prognostic testing methods should not involve more than 10 charge-discharge cycles and not more than 48 hours of testing to the battery system. Testing must not involve any techniques that have a significant adverse effect on the performance or lifetime of the device.

Technical areas of interest

Technical areas of interest for this FOA include, but are not limited to: advanced sensing, diagnostic and prognostic technologies, energy storage system designs, and control capabilities. Specific areas of interest include:

  • Online Sensing. Sensors that probe internal physical cell properties directly (i.e. structure, chemical composition, temperature, pressure, etc.); sensors leveraging techniques and approaches from other fields; sensing approaches leveraging rapid progress in cost-performance learning curves of underlying technologies; sensors providing dramatically enhanced spatial and/or temporal resolution relative to the state-of-the-art; sensors integrated into cells and/or packs as an added component or in the form of a smart component or additive; and invasive and non-invasive cell-level or pack-level sensors.

  • Offline or Online characterization for fast monitoring and prediction. This area incorporates diagnostic and prognostic tools that can be integrated into charging equipment and tools that allow for rapid validation and parameterization of diagnostic and prognostic models.

  • Technologies that enable active cell-level balancing and control. Technologies to enhance capabilities such as signal processing, thermal monitoring, connectors and wiring, communications, safety systems.

  • Technologies that facilitate low-cost, high-performance, and/or plug-and-play hybridization and integration of disparate devices.

  • Technologies that offer new control capabilities via advanced models, mechanisms, or actuators. These could include physics-based models and control; adaptive/dynamic models and control; non-traditional charge/dispatch algorithms; stochastic optimization; and novel load management approaches.



Yes, something must be done to increase locally made batteries quality so they will not explode in GM"s test labs and kill people.

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