In an effort to continue to fuel cutting-edge work in the energy storage sector, DOE has developed a robust energy storage research program and world-leading capabilities at the National Laboratories. For example, over the past 10 years, DOE-funded research and development has helped reduce the cost of lithium-ion batteries by 80%, lowering the cost of electric vehicle packs to $185/kWh.
While significant progress has been made with batteries, for electric vehicles to become more widespread, costs must be driven down further. DOE believes there are promising technologies that have been demonstrated at lab-scale, but do not have the level of technology maturity that can lead towards commercialization. The deaprtment suggests that its Lab Investment Incubator Activity can help address this challenge.
The Lab Investment Incubator Activity is designed to attract “funds-in” investment from the private sector to mature these promising technologies from lab-scale to demonstration. This investment works to overcome the technology and engineering challenges that hinder these DOE lab-developed technologies.
Funds from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE’s) Vehicle Technologies Office will be matched by private-sector investment through laboratory cooperative research and development agreements.
EERE’s Vehicle Technologies Office is working with three public-private partnerships to advance the innovation from lab-scale to demonstration in large-format pouch cells. Each laboratory is focused on advancing a different battery innovation:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, working with Sparkz, is advancing low-cobalt cathodes.
Argonne National Laboratory, working with Navitas, is focused on low-cobalt cathode and electrolyte additives.
Berkeley National Laboratory, working with Kratin, is advancing silicon anode materials and polymer anode binders.