Yesterday in Washington D.C., The U.S. Department of Energy, through its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, announced the top nine EV battery projects that are continuing research for a cheaper and lighter solution to the current issues slowing down mass acceptance of EVs by granting $20 million.
"This latest round of APPA-E projects seek to address the remaining challenges in energy storage technologies, which could revolutionize the way Americans store and use energy in electric vehicles," Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said.
The highest amount one firm will receive is GE Global Research. GE will get $3.12 million to create thin film sensors to hopefully learn more about current battery issues. The project, which we talked about early this week, will help learn more detailed information about the current battery state of any given EV, while not creating a burden just because of the test equipment.
Second in line is Ford, who is also part of a test project with GE Global on their thin film. However, their $3.1 million will be used to develop a high-precision, low failure battery testing device. This equipment is set to lower overall test time and costs while improving battery-life forecasting and other pertinent battery information.
Depending on the project, either new batteries will hopefully be created or new software could reprogram how effective future EVs will become
Also getting $3.1 million is Robert Bosch LLC. This Palo Alto, California firm will continue working on software upgrades that greatly improve battery monitoring and control. According to Environment News Service, their software helps with energy utilization, reliability, and charge rates of any given EV battery.
One of two Universities on the list, Utah State, will obtain a $3.07 million award for its current project. Scientists at Utah State are working on a cell-level power management system for larger batteries, and with the use of configuring new software to maximize performance, the cell-level battery management system could lower the initial battery cost of EVs by cutting the cost of specific batteries.
The Eaton Corporation will get a $2.48 million grant to create a new power control system geared toward commercial hybrids. Eaton's goal is to reduce the batter size in larger commercial vehicles, however make sure the future battery has just as much life as the heavier, current model.
By using easy to find material, lower costs for battery packs will help reduce sales prices for EVs at dealerships. This is what Pellion Technologies is working on.
Based in Massachusetts, Pellion Technologies will get $2.5 million to figure our how to create a new type of rechargeable battery that can travel up to three times more than the current lithium-ion batteries installed in EVs today. According to Pellion, their batteries will be made from low-cost, easy to obtain metals that are found domestically in the US.
Sila Nanotechnologies in Atlanta has be granted $1.7 million to create new, low cost nano-composite materials that could cut energy storage requirements in half and therefore double the current capacity of EV batteries. By using a low cost method to increase EV capacity will attract potential EV buyers while swaying those currently using hybrid technology due to range anxiety.
By using nickel-iron batteries, Xilectric is hoping to lower prices while increasing performance of the next generation EV.
Another firm in Massachusetts, Xiletric Incorporated, will try and use nickel-iron batteries instead of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. Although this design has been used for over 100 years, Xiletric feels they can reinvent a new battery based on using a new chemistry formula that will help increase performance and lower cost. This grant will be for around $1.7 million.
The last study to receive money is Pennsylvania State University. The Department of Energy will award them with $1 million to come up with new internal designs for electric vehicle batteries that will speed up power immediately depending on the battery state. By re-configuring the battery's architecture, Pennsylvania State University is hoping to increase battery performance and safety.
To learn more about the grants and individual companies and projects, check out this article from Environmental News Service.