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August 2nd, 2012

$43M heading to 19 new ARPA-E energy storage projects, with nod to small businesses

Published on August 2nd, 2012 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

DOE/ARPA-E has given the green light to 19 new projects related to energy storage with an emphasis on electric vehicle technologies, grid reliability and security.

As part of this announcement, ARPA-E says it is creating two new initiatives to support these projects: Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) and Small Business Innovation Research. (SBIR/STTR programs, of course, are already found in the DOE and other federal agencies, but apparently this is the first time a specific SBIR beachhead has been created in ARPA-E.)

ARPA-E is divvying up the monies between legacy and frontier battery compositions and designs. Specifically, AMPED will cover 12 research projects earmarked for $30 million for what the agency describes as “advanced sensing and control technologies that could dramatically improve and provide new innovations in safety, performance, and lifetime for grid-scale and vehicle batteries.” The projects will aim to squeeze more out of existing battery chemistries.

In contrast to AMPED’s focus, SBIR will oversee seven small-business projects funded for $13 million aimed at “innovative battery chemistries and battery designs.”

“This latest round of ARPA-E projects seeks to address the remaining challenges in energy storage technologies, which could revolutionize the way Americans store and use energy in electric vehicles, the grid and beyond, while also potentially improving the access to energy for the U.S. military at forward operating bases in remote areas,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.

Here’s the breakdown:


Lead organization Amount ($M) Project
Palo Alto Research Ctr. $4 Develop new fiber optic sensors that are inserted into battery packs to monitor and measure batteries during charge and discharge cycles. These compact fiber optical sensors will measure the battery’s health while in use to avoid degradation and failure.
Ford Motor Co. $3.1 Develop a high-precision battery testing device to improve battery-life forecasting and validation; reduce the time and expense required in the research, development and qualification testing of new automotive and stationary batteries.
GE Global Research $3.1 Develop thin-film sensors that enable real-time, two-dimensional mapping of temperature and surface pressure for each cell within a battery pack; improve internal battery measurement capabilities and lower the cost of electric vehicles.
ORNL $1.0 Develop an innovative battery design to more effectively regulate destructive hot-spots that develop during use.
Utah State Univ. $3.1 Develop electronic hardware and control software to create an advanced battery management system that actively maximizes the performance of each cell in a battery pack; reduce electric vehicle battery pack cost by 25% or more.
Battelle Memorial Inst. $0.6 Develop an optical sensor to monitor the internal environment of a lithium-ion battery in real-time. This internal sensor will detect the magnitude and location of internal battery faults and other hazardous conditions.
Penn State $1.0 Develop an innovative design for electric vehicle battery packs that can reroute power in real-time between cells. This reconfigurable battery architecture will enhance battery safety and performance.
Washington University (St. Louis) $2.0 Develop a predictive battery management system that uses innovative modeling software to optimize battery use; predict optimal charge and discharge of the battery in real-time, enhancing battery performance and improving battery safety, charge-rate and usable capacity.
Det Norske Veritas $2.0 Develop a gas monitoring system to provide early warning signals that a battery is operating in stressful conditions and at risk of premature failure; optimize performance and help repurpose batteries for other applications.
Southwest Research Inst. $0.7 Explore the potential of tracking physical expansion and contraction of lithium-ion batteries during charge and discharge cycles as a new method for analyzing battery capacity and health.
Robert Bosch LLC $3.1 Develop battery monitoring and control software to improve the energy utilization, reliability and charge rate of electric vehicle batteries using real-time modeling of the battery’s internal environment.
Eaton Corp. $2.5 Develop a power control system to optimize the operation of commercial-scale hybrid electric vehicles; reduce the size of the battery needed for operating large hybrid electric vehicles.


Lead organization Amount ($M) Project
ITN Energy Systems $1.7 Improve current state-of-the-art Vanadium flow batteries for grid-scale energy storage. This project integrates a low-cost membrane with a new flow battery chemistry to develop an efficient and affordable energy storage system for renewable energy generation sources like solar and wind for small commercial and residential consumers.
Energy Storage Systems $1.7 Construct a flow battery for grid scale storage using an advanced cell design and electrolyte materials composed of low-cost iron; target storage cost of less than $100/kWh.
TVN Systems $1.7 Develop an advanced flow battery with a low- cost, durable membrane and unique catalyst.
Materials & Systems Research $1.7 Design advanced sodium battery membranes that are stronger and cost less than existing membrane technologies.
Pellion Technologies $2.5 Develop a rechargeable battery for electric vehicles that has the potential to travel three times the distance of today’s Li-ion car batteries, fabricated from abundant, low-cost metals that can be domestically sourced.
Sila Nanotechnologies $1.7 Develop an electric vehicle battery that doubles the capacity of today’s Li-ion batteries, using low cost nano-composite materials.
Xilectric $1.7 Use Edison battery chemistries for battery that starts gas-powered cars.

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