Lithium- and Transition Metal-Free High-Energy Fast-Charging Batteries

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Program:
OPEN 2021
Award:
$3,400,000
Location:
Houston,
Texas
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
06/27/2022 - 06/26/2025
Website:

Critical Need:

Current battery technologies that offer suitable energy density for electrified transportation rely on lithium-based chemistries, which most often require transition metals such as nickel and/or cobalt in cathode active materials. These critical commodity elements are becoming scarcer and more expensive in the U.S., causing concern for the U.S.’s resource independence. Organic cathodes in conjunction with magnesium-based anodes are an alternative option to lithium-based batteries with transition metal oxide cathodes.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

The University of Houston will develop a battery that will match the energy and power densities of lithium-based batteries while excluding lithium, nickel, and cobalt. The proposed battery will substitute lithium-based anodes with energy-dense and abundant magnesium, of which the U.S. has virtually unlimited reserves. Organic materials obtained from oil refineries and biorefineries will replace conventional cathodes based on transition metals, thereby eliminating any requirement for nickel or cobalt. The team’s recent technology breakthroughs have overcome the energy and power bottlenecks that have traditionally plagued magnesium batteries, resulting in material-level energy densities of up to 579 Wh/kg and fast charging-discharging capability at 20 C rate. The proposed project will advance the technology on multiple fronts, including electrode material and electrolyte optimization, cycle life extension, practical cell design, and scale-up of material production and cell fabrication.

Potential Impact:

If successful, the proposed technology will shift the resource-intensive high-energy battery industry to a more sustainable one.

Security:

The proposed battery, which matches the energy and power densities of lithium-based solutions yet excludes lithium, nickel, and cobalt in its active material compositions, will enhance the energy supply chain security of the U.S.

Environment:

The proposed battery will substitute conventional transition metal-based cathodes with readily available organic materials obtained from oil refineries and biorefineries. These proposed “magnesium-organic” batteries are thus a reliably domestically available alternative to lithium-based batteries.

Economy:

Developing rechargeable batteries with abundant and low-cost materials could enable game changing devices for many applications and end uses.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Halle Cheeseman
Project Contact:
Prof. Yan Yao
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
yyao4@uh.edu

Partners

LiBeyond LLC
Twelfth Vertex

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Release Date:
02/11/2021