Charging ahead in advanced battery research

  • 18-May-2010 10:20 EDT
Jagjit Nanda battery cell assembly - Oak Ridge.jpg

An Oak Ridge National Laboratory researcher assembles a lithium-ion battery for performance testing within a controlled environment.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently award four contacts to improve the production of Li-ion batteries in the U.S. The contracts, totaling $3 million, address key problems in battery manufacturing science, advanced materials processing, quality control, and processing scale-up. Award winners were A123 Systems for domestic supply of anode materials; Dow Kokam for processing and characterization of novel cathodes; Porous Power Technologies for improved separator materials; and Planar Energy for scalable processing of solid-state batteries. In each case, industry cost-share exceeds 50% of the total project cost. In related news, Sion Power recently received a three-year research grant worth up to $5 million from the DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E). Under this program, Sion—in collaboration with BASF, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory—will accelerate the development of practical, economical, and safe lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries. Performance targets for the program are to exceed 500 W·h/kg and 500 cycles at commercially viable recharge rates. Li-S chemistry offers the highest energy potential of any two solid elements, with more than twice the energy capacity of Li-ion technology at half the weight, according to Sion.

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