The Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has announced that a project at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is among 22 projects that will receive funding to develop transformational electric vehicle (EV) energy storage systems using innovative chemistries, architectures and designs.
ARPA-E's new program, Robust Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems (RANGE), aims to accelerate widespread EV adoption by dramatically improving driving range and reliability, and by providing low-cost carbon alternatives to today's vehicles.
"We're very excited about the opportunity to work on a drastically different battery technology for EVs," says NREL Project Lead Jeremy Neubauer. "Not only does it have the potential to meet the demanding safety, cost and performance levels for EVs set by ARPA-E, but it could do so sustainably. This project will allow us to build on our preliminary findings and move closer to creating a battery system that will allow the next generation of EVs to drive further and more safely."
NREL is a recognized leader in electrified vehicle energy storage R&D. Working closely with project partners EIC Laboratories and Chemtura Corporation, NREL will use organic energy storage materials to develop a new low-cost battery that operates similar to a flow battery, where chemical energy is stored in liquid anolytes and catholytes that flow through an electrode to charge and discharge the system.
Today's state-of-the-art flow batteries are generally low in energy density, have poor efficiency, suffer reliability issues, and as such are largely unsuitable for transportation applications. However, NREL's EV battery technology will deploy newly developed, high energy, renewable organic compounds in modified system architecture to overcome these shortfalls. More information on NREL's energy storage research and development efforts, funded primarily by the Energy Department's Vehicle Technologies Office, can be found online.
"We are excited to see NREL developing a new low-cost flow battery using organic energy storage materials," says ARPA-E Program Director Dr. Ping Liu. "NREL's electric vehicle liquid battery will use newly developed, renewable organic compounds to increase energy density and reduce cost. This fits well with RANGE's program funding high risk and high reward transformational technologies."
ARPA-E was officially authorized in 2007 and first funded in 2009. The Agency invests in high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private-sector investment.
NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.