The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $59 million for new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research. Funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0002014) seeks projects to address priorities in advanced batteries and electric drive systems, energy efficient mobility systems, materials for more efficient powertrains, co-optimized advanced engine and fuel technologies, and alternative fuels and new mobility options.
Topic areas for this funding opportunity include the following:
Topic 1: Solid State Batteries - Materials, Diagnostic Tools, and Modeling (up to $12.5 million). Projects will focus on developing new solid electrolytes that can address materials challenges and enable next-generation chemistries that reduce costs and improve energy density and cycle life.
This topic area seeks to research, to develop, and to test lithium metal-based batteries that implement solid lithium-ion conductors capable of achieving the cell performance identified in the table below.
Anticipated technology approaches include, but are not limited to:
New solid electrolytes that can promote uniform lithium plating and have high conductivity and low reactivity against lithium metal and against high voltage cathodes;
New polymer electrolytes that have the potential to operate at room temperature and possess the mechanical properties to prevent dendrites;
Novel architectures/cell designs to protect metallic lithium from dendrite formation;
Novel approaches to integrate solid ion conductors into cathode materials that can result in low interfacial impedance; and
New designs of the sulfur cathode host to achieve high sulfur loading (>6 mg/cm2) good sulfur utilization, minimal polysulfide diffusion, and limited excess electrolyte (goal of electrolyte to sulfur ratio of 3 ml/mg).
Topic 2: Electric Motor Research Increasing Power Density 8x (up to $3.5 million). Projects will focus on novel, innovative materials and designs that decrease the size and increase the power density of electric drive systems by a factor of eight, while achieving cost reduction and performance improvement targets for more affordable electric drive systems.
Through this topic area, the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) will select “seedling” projects for innovative, new ideas that accelerate the development of advanced motor designs and materials in support of the goals of the Electric Drive Technologies (EDT) Consortium, a multi-disciplinary team of national labs and universities.
VTO will manage and review work conducted as part of the seedling projects in conjunction with the Consortium; project teams will communicate and coordinate their efforts with Consortium partners and members.
Potential technologies in response to this AOI include, but are not limited to, the following:
Printable magnetic materials for motors – Instead of laminations, one approach to building high power density, high-speed motors is using solid 3D printed materials. Novel approaches are needed to build stators/rotors with no laminations.
Covetic/Printed Steel – There is a need for low-cost, high-efficiency steels to achieve low-cost and high power density electric motors. Covetic steel is one approach that can achieve this.
Ultraconductors for Motor Windings – Covetic copper and copper/nano-tube alloys for high-conductivity windings are two approaches to increase the conductivity of copper and both reduce the size and increase the efficiency of the electric motor.
Novel High-Power Density Non-Heavy Rare-Earth Motor Topologies for High Speed Traction Motors – High speed (>20,000rpm) electric motor operation creates material and structural challenges, and reducing motor size creates thermal challenges. Achieving EDT Consortium goals and targets requires novel electric motor architecture innovations (e.g., new magnets and magnetic materials) and improved motor thermal management approaches.
Topic 3: Energy Efficient Mobility Systems Research (up to $7 million). Projects will focus on vehicle automation and connectivity to improve transportation system-level efficiency for travelers, vehicles, and infrastructure, reducing the time, cost, and energy required to move people and goods.
Topic 4: Predictive Modeling Capabilities for the Co-Optimization of Fuels and Multi-Mode Engines ($3.5 million). Projects will focus on improving the accuracy, speed, and predictive capability of multi-mode combustion simulation models for current high performance computing systems and future exascale level systems.
Topic 5: New Materials and Engine Technologies for High Efficiency Powertrains (up to $15 million). Projects will develop innovative powertrain systems that combine advanced materials that reduce weight and enable higher engine temperatures with new combustion strategies to improve vehicle fuel economy.
This are of interest seeks innovative engine designs that use advanced materials and manufacturing approaches to significantly improve the fuel economy of Class 1-6 vehicles (mid-size passenger cars, crossover vehicles, pickup trucks, and medium-duty trucks in Classes 3-6). New, innovative materials and manufacturing approaches have the potential to enable fundamental improvements in overall engine performance and efficiency, including, but not limited to, lightweighting of the engine.
Combining advanced materials and combustion strategies can expand operational parameters to further increase engine efficiency while addressing technical roadblocks such as high pressure rise rates, increased peak pressures and temperatures, thermal management, and NVH (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness). The powertrain mass in Class 1-6 vehicles can represent up to 30% of total vehicle weight, and when mass compounding is included, powertrain mass reductions can result in significant fuel economy benefits. Applicants must validate fuel economy improvement, engine weight reduction, and pathway to emissions compliance to meet minimum performance targets (see table below) using full engine dynamometer testing, actual component weight measurements, and vehicle-level modeling.
Topic 6: Technology Integration (up to $17.5 million). Projects will focus on alternative fuel vehicles and infrastructure for resiliency and emergency preparedness, new mobility services in rural America, alternative fuel (e.g., natural gas, propane, electricity, hydrogen) proof-of-concept demonstrations in new communities and fleets, and electric vehicle data collection. There is also an open topic specific to Clean Cities coalitions seeking innovative ideas for alternative fuel and mobility solutions.