The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has selected 19 new projects to receive a total of $43 million to develop breakthrough energy storage technologies and support promising small businesses.
These projects are supported through two new ARPA-E programs—Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)—and will focus on innovations in battery management and storage to advance electric vehicle technologies, help improve the efficiency and reliability of the electrical grid and provide important energy security benefits to US armed forces.
This latest round of ARPA-E projects seek to address the remaining challenges in energy storage technologies, which could revolutionize the way Americans store and use energy in electric vehicles, the grid and beyond, while also potentially improving the access to energy for the US. military at forward operating bases in remote areas—Secretary of Energy Steven Chu
Twelve research projects are receiving $30 million in funding under the AMPED program, which aims to develop advanced sensing and control technologies that could significantly improve and provide new innovations in safety, performance, and lifetime for grid-scale and vehicle batteries.
Unlike other Department of Energy efforts to push the frontiers of battery chemistry, AMPED is focused on maximizing the potential of existing battery chemistries. These innovations are intended to help reduce costs and improve the performance of next generation storage technologies, which could be applied in both plug-in electric and hybrid-electric vehicles.
|Advanced Management And Protection Of Energy-Storage Devices (AMPED)
|Palo Alto Research Center
|Smart Embedded Network of Sensors with Optical Readout (SENSOR). Palo Alto Research Center will develop new fiber optic sensors that are inserted into battery packs to monitor and measure batteries during charge and discharge cycles. These compact fiber optical sensors will measure the battery’s health while in use to avoid degradation and failure.
|Ford Motor Company
|High Precision Life Testing of Automotive and Grid Storage Batteries. Ford Motor Company and Arbin Instruments will develop a high-precision battery testing device to improve battery-life forecasting and validation. Extremely precise measurements sampled by the device will reduce the time and expense required in the research, development, and qualification testing of new automotive and stationary batteries.
|GE Global Research
|Ultra-thin Strain and Temperature Sensor System. GE Global Research will develop thin-film sensors that enable real-time, two-dimensional mapping of temperature and surface pressure for each cell within a battery pack. These new sensors will provide higher resolution compared to today’s thermal sensors, improving internal battery measurement capabilities and lowering the cost of electric vehicles.
|Oak Ridge National Laboratory
|Temperature Regulation for Lithium-Ion Cells. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is developing an innovative battery design to more effectively regulate destructive hotspots that develop during use. This improvement in transporting heat away from active materials in the battery is expected to increase the battery’s life and reduce the system cost associated with thermal management.
|Utah State University
|Cell-level Power Management of Large Battery Packs. Utah State University will develop electronic hardware and control software to create an advanced battery management system that actively maximizes the performance of each cell in a battery pack. This cell-level battery management system could reduce electric vehicle battery pack cost by 25% or more.
|Battelle Memorial Institute
|Battery Fault Sensing in Operating Batteries. Battelle will develop an optical sensor to monitor the internal environment of a lithium-ion battery in real-time. This internal sensor will detect the magnitude and location of internal battery faults and other hazardous conditions that current battery sensor technologies fail to identify.
|Pennsylvania State University
|Health Management System for Reconfigurable Battery Packs. Pennsylvania State University is developing an innovative design for electric vehicle battery packs that can reroute power in real-time between cells. Compared to today’s electric vehicle battery packs, this reconfigurable battery architecture will enhance battery safety and performance.
|Washington University in St. Louis
|Optimal Operation and Management of Batteries Based on Real Time Predictive Modeling and Adaptive Battery Management Techniques. Washington University in St. Louis will develop a predictive battery management system that uses innovative modeling software to optimize battery use. The system will predict optimal charge and discharge of the battery in real-time, enhancing battery performance and improving battery safety, charge-rate, and usable capacity.
|Det Norske Veritas
|Sensor Enhanced and Model Validated Batteries for Energy Storage. Det Norske Veritas will develop a gas monitoring system to provide early warning signals that a battery is operating in stressful conditions and at risk of premature failure. As batteries degrade, they emit measurable quantities of gas that can be mapped over the battery’s life time. This detection method will optimize performance and help repurpose batteries for other applications.
|Southwest Research Institute
|Strain Estimation Technology for Lithium-Ion Batteries. Southwest Research Institute will explore the potential of tracking physical expansion and contraction of lithium-ion batteries during charge and discharge cycles as a new method for analyzing battery capacity and health.
|Robert Bosch LLC
|Advanced Battery Management System. Bosch will develop battery monitoring and control software to improve the energy utilization, reliability, and charge rate of electric vehicle batteries. Bosch's advanced battery management system will leverage breakthroughs in real-time modeling of the battery’s internal environment.
|Predictive Battery Management for Hybrid Vehicles. Eaton Corporation is developing a power control system to optimize the operation of commercial-scale hybrid electric vehicles. Eaton’s innovative approach reduces the size of the battery needed for operating large hybrid electric vehicles with no loss in battery life or vehicle performance, enabling a more cost-effective solution for commercial vehicles.
ARPA-E is also announcing a total of $13 million for seven projects to enterprising small businesses to pursue cutting-edge energy storage developments for stationary power and electric vehicles. These projects will develop new innovative battery chemistries and battery designs, continuing ARPA-E’s funding for storage technologies.
These awards are part of the larger Department-wide Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.
|Energy Storage SBIR/STTR Project Descriptions
|ITN Energy Systems, Inc.
|Advanced Vanadium Redox Flow Battery. ITN will dramatically improve current state-of-the-art Vanadium flow batteries for grid-scale energy storage. This project integrates a unique, low-cost membrane with a new flow battery chemistry to develop an efficient and affordable energy storage system for renewable energy generation sources like solar and wind for small commercial and residential consumers.
|Energy Storage Systems, Inc.
|Iron Flow Battery. Energy Storage Systems, Inc. will construct a flow battery for grid scale storage using an advanced cell design and electrolyte materials composed of low cost iron. The flow battery will have a target storage cost of less than $100/kWh, which could enable deployment of renewable energy technologies throughout the grid.
|TVN Systems, Inc.
|Hydrogen-Bromine Electrical Energy Storage System. TVN Systems, Inc., the University of Kansas, and Vanderbilt University will develop an advanced flow battery with a low-cost, durable membrane and unique catalyst. The success of this project could enable deployment of renewable energy technologies throughout the grid.
|Materials & Systems Research, Inc.
|Advanced Sodium Battery. MSRI will design advanced sodium battery membranes that are stronger and cost less than existing membrane technologies. This manufacturing process will make high-strength membranes for grid-scale batteries that increase cycle life and improve safety in a single step.
|Pellion Technologies, Inc.
|Rechargeable Multivalent Batteries from Common Metals. Pellion will develop a rechargeable battery for electric vehicles that has the potential to travel three times the distance of today’s Li-ion car batteries. The batteries will be fabricated from abundant, low-cost metals that can be domestically sourced. If successful, this technology could revolutionize the distance electric vehicles can travel on a single charge.
|Sila Nanotechnologies, Inc.
|Doubling the Energy Density of Lithium-ion Batteries for Transportation. Sila will develop an electric vehicle battery that doubles the capacity of today’s Li-ion batteries. This technology uses low cost nano-composite materials that could cut energy storage cost in half or more. This cost reduction could accelerate electric vehicle adoption and decrease range anxiety associated with current electric vehicles.
|Reinvention of the Edison Battery. Xielectric will reinvent Thomas Edison’s battery chemistries for today’s electric vehicles. This reinvented battery will cost less than the battery that starts today’s gas powered cars. This battery uses an innovative chemistry based on domestically available aluminum and magnesium and simple construction to increase performance and lower cost.