DoE Selects 15 Recipients For Seed Money To Work Towards Battery With Specific Energy Of 500 Wh/kg

AUG 27 2017 BY MARK KANE 64

The Department of Energy’s Battery500 consortium announced its list of 15 new projects promising battery technology advancements in July, and who also received more than $5.7 million in seed funding.

2170 Cells for the upcoming Tesla Model 3

The goal of the Battery500 project is to jump-start technologies that could ultimately lead to 500 Wh/kg+ energy density cells – a level seen as part of the “Holy Grail” for widespread EV adoption.

During the next 18-months (phase 1) awardees will show proof of thier technologies, and then will be down-selected for further financing.

“The new projects are the first to be funded through the consortium, which is led by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and involves multiple partners at universities and other national labs. The new seedling projects were announced July 12 as part of a larger unveiling of a total of $19.4 million in new DOE funding for vehicle technologies research.

The new consortium projects are called seedling projects because they involve new, potentially risky battery technologies that could pay off big and grow into significant energy storage solutions. The most promising of the new projects will be competitively down-selected after 18 months.

Battery500 seeks to develop lithium-metal batteries that have more than double the specific energy found in batteries that power today’s electric cars. Specific energy measures the amount of energy packed into a battery based on its weight.

Batteries with higher specific energies will allow electric vehicles (EVs) to drive farther on a single charge, as well as weigh and cost less. The consortium aims to build a battery cell with a specific energy of 500 watt-hours per kilogram, compared to the 170-200 watt-hours per kilogram in today’s typical EV battery.”

The Battery500 project is focused on three keystone projects:

  • A high nickel content cathode with a Li-metal anode;
  • Sulfur cathode and Li-metal anode; and
  • Innovative electrode and cell design.”

Battery500 Seedling Projects – Phase 1 awards (Area of Interest 1)

University of Maryland: College Park – $400,000
Research innovative iron-based materials for high energy cathodes for high energy lithium ion battery technologies.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – $400,000
Research thick cathodes using freeze casting methods for solid-state lithium batteries.

Penn State University Park – $399,194
Research multifunctional Li-ion conducting interfacial materials that enable high- performance lithium metal anodes.

Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. – $400,000
Research a scalable synthesis to enable very thin coatings on solid state electrolyte membranes to enable high performance Li-Sulfur Battery.

University of Maryland: College Park – $400,000
Using 3D printed, low tortuosity frameworks, develop solid state Li-ion batteries.

General Motors LLC – $400,000
Design, engineer, develop, and integrate pouch-format cells for lithium-sulfur batteries to achieve high energy density and long cycle life.

University of Pittsburgh – $400,000
Research sulfur electrodes utilizing lithium ion conductor (LIC) coatings for high energy density advanced lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries.

Cornell University – $360,000
Research highly loaded sulfur cathodes and conductive carbon coated separators that enable high energy batteries.

University of Maryland: College Park – $400,000
Research advanced electrolytes to limit dendrite growth in lithium-metal cells.

Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station – $400,000
Utilize an analytical and experimental approach to examine the interface between solid state electrolytes and lithium-metal anodes and identify potential methods for mitigating dendrite growth.

Navitas Advanced Solutions Group, LLC – $400,000
Research a solvent-free process to fabricate all-solid Li batteries.

Wayne State University – $225,000
Research novel full-cell, ultra high-energy Li- metal batteries based on 3-dimensional architectures.

Oregon State University – $353,500
Research and develop a new process to produce Li2S@graphene composite cathodes to inhibit polysulfides to enhance cycle life.

SUNY University at Stony Brook – $400,000
Research li-sulfur batteries using a novel sulfur rich nanosheet composite cathode.

University of Houston – $400,000
Research high-energy solid-state lithium batteries with organic cathode materials.

source: Green Car Congress

Categories: Battery Tech

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64 Comments on "DoE Selects 15 Recipients For Seed Money To Work Towards Battery With Specific Energy Of 500 Wh/kg"

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After using the super charging network, my opinion is that recharging time has a higher priority than energy density.

Even with the superchargers, long distance travel takes too long. Faster charging would also result in less waiting at congested super chargers.

I disagree…Charging speed is fine. We just need more chargers so that we can charge at the places that are more convenient.

Getting lower-cost cells and more charging infrastructure would do far more for EV growth.

Charging speed won’t be “fine” until a 300 mile range plug-in EVs can be charged to 80%+ in 10 minutes or less. Until then, there are a lot of people — perhaps the majority of people in first-world countries — who wouldn’t even consider using one on a long trip.

At this point, R&D money would be far better spent on improving charging speed. Energy density (“specific energy”) is already good enough as it is, unless you’re trying to build an electric drive commercial airliner.

Maybe 2 birds with 1 stone. If you get the density high enough, and the cost low enough, you can make an affordable 1000 mile EV that doesn’t need to rely on on-the-fly charging.

yes I agree.
If you double the battery kwh then at 1 C it will pull a lot more miles per minute when charging which is all you care about.

I just thought maybe it would be easier to kill one bird instead of 2.

I think it involves better anode design instead of cathode but I could be wrong on that

“wouldn’t consider one”

Most people wouldn’t consider an iPhone when asked ~10 years ago.

People just don’t know what it is to own and drive an EV and that scares them so they’re looking for certainties. Lacking any idea of how life with an EV would look like, they fall back on what they *do* know: a petrol vehicle.

Once EV’s are normal and cheap and neighbours have them and get by without problems, the light will come on and they’ll see and EV doesn’t have to be capable of *everything* a gas vehicle does + some more.

My ideal has always been 50/15 or 50Kwh/15 minutes (to %80). That is, about 200 miles range is fine if you can charge to %80 in a reasonable stopping time.

Trying to get too much battery capacity onboard means dragging around weight you don’t use on a day to day basis and reduces efficiency. If we double battery power density then great. That means a battery of half the weight and half the cost.

I have a 200 mile range car now (Bolt). I only charge it about once a week for a 20 mile commute one way. I have taken it long distance (San Jose to Los Angeles). It is not a practical long range car.

The good news is we have 50kWh+ batteries now, and %80 charge times are within reason will evolve regardless of the technology. I expect the battery cost/weight improvements will show up as lower cost EVs, which are very much needed. EVs are still too expensive.

“I disagree…Charging speed is fine.”

Of course as a Volt owner that is what you would say.

I had a Volt for 3 years and wrote many tech articles on it. I thought the Vot was a really great piece of engineering.

These are 2 good articles:

This one explains how the gen 2 volt transaxle works

This is also a good one on how the Volt works climbing a hill in extended rode mode. I took all the data on my Dash Daq


People need to see the whole picture. Charging taking longer than gas is fine, I would say, when in 10-25 minutes you can top up for a 400 mile trip. Does it have to match gasoline energy density, when owners never have to “go find a station” locally? There’s lots of inconvenience represented by a gas powered car.

I would agree, for two reasons I can identify Teslas can be found all over greater Boston, but on trips they suddenly become scarce. People aren’t driving them long distance. At least not in strong numbers relative to the growing metro herds. Charging, or even simply having to plan, may be one reason. Mileage depreciation, or not running the 50k warranty down, is another. It’s an expensive car.

I dunno. I drove my Bolt 505 miles today. 126kWh total energy or something. I did spend quite some time charging. It wasn’t onerous though. I did mostly 30 minute stops so I could charge at full rate more often (Bolt slows down past 70%). What I would like to be different after this? Make LA traffic better. I lost almost an hour on the 5. And on PlugShare you can choose a charger near the route you think you will take but when you reroute around traffic it may mean you added some driving to your trip. Also, i was tipped off that DCFC is a mess in San Diego so I grabbed an extra half hour charge so I wouldn’t have to charge in SD to get back to LA where there is more charging. So please make DCFC easier in San Diego. Finally I really think that being able to reserve a charger would make a big difference. I never had to wait for a charger but I did change my route as I neared my next charger once because it was full and the other wasn’t. Just let me prepay about thirty minutes in advance as… Read more »

NO ONE waits for another car in kWh or miles. They wait in time. If you took 30 min and i3 took 30 min, the person waiting also spent 30 minutes waiting regardless of miles or kWh.

i3 almost always finish in 30 minutes while Bolt almost always finish after 1 hour. That makes waiting for Bolt the longest (slowest charging) among any EV.

If you’re talking about slowest in kWh, I waited for a Leaf at 98% charging 0.01 kWh in 20 seconds using ABB (50kW) DCFC. Math works out to 1.8 kW. But that doesn’t matter; I still waited 30 min. If there was Maven Bolt with even 25% and charging over 40 kW, I would’ve waited an hour or more.

Even without free charging Bolt wasting time, Bolt’s step down and 50% and 70% makes it the slowest charging EV in the world in C rate. Beyond 50%, which almost every Bolt shows when plugged in, Bolt is the slowest charging EV in the world in kW and miles added above 50%.

I waited for my car in time several times yesterday. You have this idea because you never took any long trips. When you have a next charger to get to your time waiting is due to how long it’ll take to get the range needed to get there. That’s waiting in miles. It’s just ridiculous for you say what no one does just because you never do it. Maybe if you had a car which could pass by chargers on long trips you’d realize you’re constantly selecting whether to charge longer here so you can skip some chargers or to charge less. I left chargers with badly over half range knowing I’d do better to stop again sooner rather than wait longer. Only on one stop did my car noticeable slow down at the end of charging and because of that I replanned the rest of my route to avoid it. And the i3 woman wasn’t waiting at all. When the charger finished and shut off she wasn’t even there. She went in the mall, leaving the charger spot full but the charger not charging as I unplugged and left. You keep saying how slow the Bolt is but I… Read more »

Sorry, I mean I waited in miles several times.

Your notion that people act to optimize time by only charging to X miles is simply fantasy, rarely happens in the real world. Do a survey yourself; people will almost always take full allotted 30 minutes (Leaf/i3) or 1 hr / 80% (Bolt, etc) regardless of miles even if it’s tapered to 1.8 kW out of 50 kW charger.

Um. Every person optimizes their charge time. Let me give you an example. I don’t charge away from home unless I have to.

See, I’m only adding the miles I need. Which is usually 0. And when I stopped in LA to add miles I didn’t charge for an hour because I got what I needed in half an hour. See how it sports, it’s pretty simple.

And no I’m not confusing anything. You’re either waiting To start or waiting to finish. You’re either waiting for your own miles or for someone else’s.

By the way, you always confuse charging time vs waiting time. After you plugged in, you are not waiting.

“I put more charge in my car in a half hour than you can put in your car at all.”

You are proving my point. You will probably never see SparkEV plugged in for half hour. That means the maximum wait time for SparkEV is half hour if you arrive just as 0% SparkEV that wants to take to 100% plug in. That never happens with SparkEV due to high cost of DCFC, but that happens almost every single time with Bolt.

But SparkEV takes 15 min on average, and random distribution on SparkEV encounter means half that. That means average wait time for SparkEV is only 7.5 minutes.

Actualy, I’m proving my point. My car charges faster than yours. I can get the miles I need in less time than you despite you pretending that Bolts charge lower than your car.

The maximum time I wait for a single car is not as important as my total wait and if more people have more range already (I.e. Bolts) they’ll need to charge away from home less and thus there will be more charger availability for you. Oh yeah, and if you head a longer range car you wouldn’t even need to charge near home. You wouldn’t need to charge to go to Anaheim and back.

Not sure what happened there. Didn’t mean to press return.

You think this charging problem is made worse by longer range cars but you have it backwards. It is made better. I’ve been to Cupertino a couple times. It has a worse charger problem than San Diego. 4.4hrs use per charter per day versus 3.3hrs in San Diego. Know how much this has bothered me? NOT AT ALL. Because I have the range to get to Cupertino and back, no need to charge away from home.

You blame a car for the actions of its drivers. And you blame others for a problem which you partly put on yourself by having a car or situation which forces you to hit DCFCs in your home town frequently. I’m in your town right now and I haven’t had a fast charge problem because I entered t own with enough charge to get me back to Orange County where chargers are plentiful.

I’m sorry you’re having trouble. But it’s not Chevys fault. I hope your problem gets better either by others putting in more DCFCs or you getting your lack of usable range issue corrected.

Chevy owns Maven, Maven give out free charging which result in Bolt being present in every DCFC every single time. Bolt being slowest charging EV in the world at 25 kW, which is almost all Bolt when they plug in since they are way above 70%, Chevy is entirely at fault.

You say how you’re doing this and that, but that means nothing. From what I experience, both trying to charge and just observing, Bolt is present at every DCFC, far more than much lower range i3 and Leaf that sold many times more. Why? Again, Chevy is entirely at fault.

As for not using DCFC, sure, I can get a gas car at half the price of Bolt and avoid DCFC as well. I’m sure that’s what Chevy wants by artificially “stepping down” charging power of Bolt, which no other EV does, to make it the slowest EV in the world and then destroying DCFC by giving out free charging. Chevy is entirely at fault.

As for waiting, if you’re standing in line at a bank, you wouldn’t call face-time with the teller as wait time. EV is far better in that you don’t have to sit there, but you can do other things which charging. You are confusing charging time (free to do other things) vs waiting (cannot do anything else than sit in car).

Now if you choose to waste time while charging, that’s your choice (important distinction with waiting). I can understand why you’d waste time with Bolt’s slow charging. But I almost never waste time while charging. Often, fast food takes longer than charging.

Improved Energy density translates either in longer range for the same weight and lower costs.

It’s also critical for other transportation segments like trucking and aerospace.

So, throw a lot of money at the Universities and car people and hope for the best. What is happening on the JCESR project at Argonne Labs…they’ve had five years of funding to do the same work. And, do any of these Universities profs actually talk to each other and share their progress or do they keep inventing the same old wheel? I hope DOE coordinate this information so someone knows if taxpayer money is being used intelligently.

But the real news here is Trump and the Republicans are actually funding battery research.

They are continuing existing programs so I guess you can give them “credit” for not canceling them.

Although you shouldn’t expect much from a 400k grant.

“do any of these Universities profs actually talk to each other and share their progress or do they keep inventing the same old wheel? “

Of course they do, it’s called the scientific literature. Has been around for more than a century.

No, I’m hoping they have informal communications to speed up the transfer of information and progress. Scientific papers are claims of success and often used to further reputations…too slow. Someone said we need another Manhattan project for batteries…The Arogonne Labs JCESR project was a step toward that concept but not nearly enough.

Energy density is not important any more. This money is better spent on the Hyperloop. EVs + Hyperloop = Very fast long distance travelling.

So Currently the 200 miles range is by far more than we will ever need. We will not live 200 miles away from the Hyperloop.

Add to that the autonomous function then you could travel from your home to the Hyperloop station with an autonomous EV. The EV can get in the pood, but not necessarily and with in 30 minutes you will be on the other side of Japan. Or travel 500 km.

Forget about hyperloop. It’s doubtful it will work at all and even if it does it is at least 20 years away.

The beginnings of hyperloop are going faster than we know. The Boring Company is tunneling under Hawthorn, California and is seeking permits to tunnel from D.C. to NYC while hyperloop prototypes are being tested in Northern California. I give hyperloop a better chance to be developed than the California Bullet Train.

Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Inc. – $400,000
General Motors LLC – $400,000
Those companies are respectively capitalize at $75.6B and $51,0B, do they really need those founding ?

Daimler is under investigation in Germany (, GM sued CA state for EV quotas (, do they really deserve those grants ?

I think it’s a waste of money at this point to set the goal of increasing energy density, or “specific energy”. Batteries are already small enough to make compelling smartphones and compelling plug-in EVs.

Battery innovators should be aiming for faster charging speeds, lower costs, and possibly increased longevity.

probably a double capacity battery will also be half the price for each kwh of capacity.

“Battery innovators should be aiming for faster charging speeds, lower costs, and possibly increased longevity.”

Yes, but that makes for a poor media sound bite. Hopefully their real goal incorporates all of that as well as high specific energy.

Lithium sulfur might get you high Wh/kg while Wh/l suffers. You need a multi-factor goal.

Ore dense batteries will be cheaper for same range. And fit in cars using less space. Remember, we don’t even have real trucks or SUVs yet. They’re less efficient and so will need more battery for the same range.

You think small. This is about WAY more than just cars and cell phones. This is about electrifying all our modes of transport and our recreational vehicles. To do that, we need higher energy density and this only.

Lower cost would be nice and faster recharge times would be nice, but they don’t get vehicles like airplanes, trucks, motorcycles and boats moving. The electric versions of these available now are jokes compared to their petroleum powered versions.

LOL smartphones one needs to charge everyday and EVs that are very heavy and show interior compromises in order to fit large batteries (even Model S has a noticeable lack of legroom in the back).

No, batteries are definitely not there yet. Also higher gravimetric energy density=less material=less cost.

This is what government agencies do. Just distribute taxed dollars to the chosen few and call it a project to keep their jobs! Tesla is possible because of Panasonic. Bolt is possible because of GM. Shame on you US beaureaucrats!

You obviously don’t understand how scientific research works. Panasonic, GM, and other companies take advantage of published research results to develop their products.

Tesla and Bolt were also possible due to grants and loans from the government, which worked out as intended.

General Motors LLC – $400,000
..pouch-format cells for lithium-sulfur batteries..

I don’t think GM needed the grant, but if can benefit the customers then go for it.

As Elon said once you get around 400wh/kg ypu can start thinking about larger battery powered aircraft.

Higher the energy density of Battery lesser the need to install Highway Charging Stations. Home or office charging stations will be enough. As soon as Scientists and Engineers achieve this objective of 500 Wh/Kh low range Aviation and Boating industry will also got changed.

If longer range result in fewer public charging, Bolt would be the least charging EV. But reverse is true; I encounter Bolt on _every_ DCFC. I saw 3 Bolts at one DCFC the other day; one guy waiting was sleeping in the car, two were empty with one having >1hr left to go. I went to another DCFC that only had one Bolt.

I charged multiple times yesterday and the only Bolt I saw all day was my own. In fact it’s weird how few electric cars are here in SoCal. I saw one LEAF, an i3 REx a Tesla, all charging on DCFCs (Tesla owner had CHAdeMO adapter). I saw a Tesla driving and a RAV4 EV (model from a few years ago, not the decade old one) driving. Oh, and two Volts and a 500e.

I’d see that many plug-ins at two stoplights up North.

The waiting occurred yesterday. First was i3, but I had 30 miles left so I went to another which had 3 Bolts. Then I went to yet another which had a Leaf and Bolt.

Again, don’t confuse charging time with waiting time. When I say waiting, it’s before you get to plug in.

First had i3+Bolt.

I agree with David. People don’t like inconvenience, but there is one factor that will overrule this: most people are cheap. There are often half-hour waits at Costco gas so they can save a few cents per litre, so they won’t mind charging for 30 minutes if electrons are cheaper than gas. The most important thing for batteries is to get under $100/kWh, then (like David said), improve the infrastructure so there is always a minimum 100kW charger every 100 miles. Call it the triple 100 plan 🙂

So the government decided to dish out some chump change that if capital market are even remotely savvy couldn’t possibly have any noticeable effect on the development of technology that’s potentially worth billions.

Nothing to see here…

Do you understand the historical role of DARPA in modern technology, sir? You know, starting with the Internet, originally DARPANet?

This is a good cause as the companies / countries with higher battery density will be the eventual winners. 🙂

Higher density batteries are likely to improve on every other metric as well such as cost/kWh and C-rate. We really want this.

Energy density is a volumetric term whereas Specific energy is a gravimetric term…they are not technically interchangeable, but many writer do NOT differentiate. Does anyone know the ED or SE of the 2170 cells?

If we knew the number of cells in a Model 3 we could get a rough estimate of Wh/l. Unfortunately, I can’t find a good source for that. (There is speculation that the 4416 number being bandied around is the number of cells in the Model 3, but that would get me a disappointing energy density.)

Is this a good idea or is “X Prize” like competition better? I favor X Prize competition, but of course, gov’t funding doesn’t make it so easy to have such things. But they do run the only legal cross-state gambling system, the lottery, to “tax” the poor and the ignorant.

X Prize could be better

Going by the DoE L Prize outcome I’m going to say no, a prize system isn’t a great idea.

As I said, “gov’t funding doesn’t make it so easy to have such things.”

Well, you know, progressive income taxes don’t target the poor and ignorant, but a lot of states seem to consider those Communistic. So it’s regressive sales taxes and lotteries for them.

If it’s lottery instead of progressive tax system, I’d understand it being consistent. But what they have is progressive taxes PLUS lottery. But instead of calling it a tax, they call it the lottery to fool the poor and the ignorant. They should honestly label what the lottery is so that even the ignorant can understand: tax.

I really hope one or more of them succeeds. While as some have mentioned current densities are sufficient for fairly small and/or aerodynamic vehicles there are still many use cases crying out of better densities:
1) Pickup trucks and large SUVs that need to be able to actually tow something several hundred miles.
2) Recreational motor boats which include motors which frequently run at nearly full power of 100kW – 200kW+ for multiple hours.
Both of the above require batteries of well over 200kWh.

Unfortunately they didn’t include my favorite:
This is the most promising battery break-through I have read and this is 6 years old.

” the team reported mixing silicon nanopowder with alginate to yield a stable battery anode possessing reversible capacity 8 times higher than that of the state of the art graphitic anodes. The anode also demonstrates a coulombic efficiency approaching 100% and has been operated through more than 1,000 charge-discharge cycles without failure.”

Lithium costly they need alternative like sodium