Current Research Topics

DOE ARPA-E: Safe, nonflammable lithium ion batteries

The Wachsman lab is developing ceramic materials and processing methods to enable high-power, solid-state, lithium-ion batteries for use in EVs. Conventional lithium-ion batteries used in most EVs contain liquids that necessitate the use of heavy, protective components. By contrast, this technology uses no liquids and offers greater abuse tolerance and reducing weight. This reduced weight leads to improved EV efficiency for greater driving range. Dr. Wachsman's technology also has the potential to help reduce manufacturing costs using scalable, ceramic fabrication techniques that does not require dry rooms or vacuum equipment.

Army Research Laboratory: Research in Extreme Batteries

In order to advance beyond the current limitations of modern battery technologies, this research will pursue several themes that explore the full extent of a battery’s capabilities, including:

·     Extreme Charging – to facilitate the rapid return of critical Army systems to battlefield readiness
·     Extreme Safety – to reduce or eliminate the flammability/explosive risk of batteries to the warfighter
·     Extreme Voltages – to enable batteries which can be charged to higher voltages to achieve a higher energy density and thus reduce the battery mass burden for the warfighter
·     Extreme Evaluations – to better understand the inner workings of batteries and their degradation mechanisms, thus facilitate the transitioning of advanced battery materials from basic research into the commercial cells used for Army batteries
·     Extreme Transformational Innovations – to further enable these Extreme capabilities and promote the development of new materials and novel battery designs such as solid-state lithium batteries

Click here more information and the partnership with CREB

U.S. Israel Solid Energy Consortium: Lithium and Sodium Metal Solid State Batteries for Advanced Energy Storage Applications

The goal of the U.S.-Israel Energy Center is to promote energy security and economic development through the research and development of innovative technologies. The Energy Center is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and by the Israel Ministry of Energy, jointly with the Israel Innovation Authority.  Partners in the U.S. include U.S. lead, the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2), Saft and Ion Storage Systems.  In Israel, academic partners include Bar Ilan and Tel Aviv Universities, and company participants include 3DB and Materials Zone.

The proposed innovation consists of solid-state batteries that use either lithium or sodium metal as the anode material; these batteries offer a breakthrough in terms of energy per unit mass and volume at the cell level (>30% improvement vs. current Li-ion batteries), cost (by increasing energy density and using low-cost materials), safety (by use of electrolyte materials with improved intrinsic thermal stability), and an ability to serve numerous end-use sectors including specialized applications such as aerospace, as well as larger markets in transportation and stationary storage.  The cooperative project will focus on advancing the science and development of solid state batteries, including work on advanced coatings, cell components, cells, and materials informatics software, for both Na and Li metal batteries.

DOE Battery 500 Project: 3D Printed, Low Tortuosity Garnet Framework for Beyond 500 Wh/kg Batteries

The 3D printing method enables ordered low tortuosity and higher porosity (~85%) garnet structures, such as columns, stacked arrays, or more complex patterns. The resulting enhanced charge transport and ease of electrode infiltration will allow a dramatic increase in electrode thickness with an optimized structure and obtain even higher energy density far exceeding 500 Wh/kg.

DOE EERE - Vehicle Technology Office : Low Impedance Cathode/Electrolyte Interfaces for High Energy Density Solid-State Batteries

The project will research, develop, and test lithium metal-based batteries that implement solid lithium-ion conductors equipped with nickel manganese cobalt cathodes integrated into the lithium-metal tri-layer architecture. Performance targets for the batteries include a 15-year calendar life, cycle life of 1,000 with less than 20% performance degradation, and a specific energy greater than 350 Wh/kg.

DOE ARPA-E REECH: Hybrid Solid Oxide Fuel Cells Turbogenerator for Aircraft

The University of Maryland is developing a highly efficient and cost-effective hybrid-electric turbogenerator suitable for powering narrow body aircraft like the B737. A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) with integrated autothermal reformer is incorporated directly into the flow path of a gas turbine engine that also drives an electrical generator. The engine moves air through the system while boosting efficiency by recovering waste heat and unused fuel from the fuel cell. The system operates on carbon-neutral, liquefied bio-methane. Unique features include low temperature, redox-stable, high power density SOFC technology with internal reforming, an integrated autothermal reformer/SOFC/combustor that mitigates risks for thermomechanical failure, and a highly efficient turbo-generator.


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