UMD Researchers Awarded Two ARPA-E Grants for Electric Vehicle Energy
Storage Systems

Wachsman and Wang receive funding to create innovative batteries for
electric vehicle energy storage systems

COLLEGE PARK, MD–Aug. 26, 2013: Two research
teams from the University of Maryland Energy Research Center were awarded
grants from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to
develop transformational electric vehicle (EV) energy storage systems using
innovative chemistries, architectures and designs. The two University of
Maryland (UMD) projects were among 22 selected nationwide that received a
total of $36 million in research funding from ARPA-E’s new program, Robust
Affordable Next Generation Energy Storage Systems (RANGE).

ARPA-E’s RANGE program aims to accelerate widespread EV adoption by
dramatically improving driving range and reliability, and by providing
low-cost, low-carbon alternatives to today’s vehicles. RANGE seeks to
reduce vehicle costs by re-envisioning the total EV battery system, rather
than working to increase the energy density of individual battery cells.
RANGE projects will also focus on multifunctional energy storage designs
that use these robust storage systems to simultaneously serve other
functions in a vehicle, further reducing an energy storage system’s
effective and overall EV weight.

The first University of Maryland ARPA-E project, led by Professor of
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Chunseng Wang in partnership with Kan
Xu at the Army Research Laboratory, is titled “Multiple-Electron Aqueous
Battery,” and was awarded $405,000. The second project, led by University
of Maryland Energy Research (UMERC) Director and Professor of Materials
Science and Engineering Eric Wachsman, is titled “Solid-State Lithium-Ion
Battery with Ceramic Electrolyte,” and was awarded $574,275.

Multiple-Electron Aqueous Battery

Lithium-ion batteries have not been extensively adopted in electric
vehicles due to short driving range, high cost, and low safety and
reliability. In particular, the concerns over cell safety and reliability
require more protection on pack- and system-level engineering, increasing
the cost and reducing system energy density. Researchers at the University
of Maryland and Army Research Lab (ARL) will work together to develop a
hybridized ions aqueous battery that could cut the Li-ion battery system
cost in half and would enable an EV to travel two times as long per charge.
The University of Maryland team will make a critical breakthrough in
improving the energy density of aqueous battery by doubling the cell
voltage from 1.2 V to 2.5-3.0V and doubling the capacity using
intercalation chemistries by the twin ions. The intrinsic safe co-ion
aqueous battery could significantly reduce the cost of battery management,
improve the reliability, and can operate in temperature ranges from -30oC
to +70oC. If successful, UMD’s aqueous battery would make EVs
cost/safety-competitive and travel 300 miles on a single charge,
contributing to the widespread public acceptance of EVs. Increased use of
EVs would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, and reduce CO2 emissions
from burning the gasoline, which accounts for 28% of the greenhouse gas
emissions.

Solid-State Lithium-Ion Battery with Ceramic Electrolyte

The University of Maryland will develop ceramic materials and processing
methods to enable high-power, solid-state, lithium-ion batteries. While
most lithium-ion batteries are liquid based, solid-state batteries have a
greater abuse tolerance that reduces the need for heavy protective
components. UMD will leverage multi-layer ceramics processing methods to
produce a solid-state battery pack with lower weight and longer life. The
team will develop an intrinsically safe, robust, low-cost,
high-energy-density all-solid-state Li-ion batteries (SSLiBs), by
integrating high conductivity garnet-type solid lithium-ion electrolytes
and high voltage cathodes in tailored micro/nano-structures, fabricated by
low-cost supported thin-film ceramic techniques.

“Due to their all solid state construction, these lithium-ion batteries
are non-flammable and intrinsically safe,” said Prof. Wachsman. “Moreover
due to their novel highly conductivity materials and fabrication methods
will exceed current goals for electric vehicle range, acceleration, and
cost.”

In addition to Wachsman, UMD Prof. Liangbing Hu and University of
Calgary Prof. Venkataraman Thangadurai are team members on the project.

More information about the University of Maryland Energy Research Center
can be found at: http://energy.umd.edu.

ARPA-E invests in high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that
are too early for private-sector investment. More information about the
ARPA-E RANGE awards can be found at arpa-e.energy.gov.

About the A. James Clark School of Engineering

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