Department of Energy

ARPA-E’s 19 New Projects Focus on Battery Management and Storage

August 7, 2012

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Principal Deputy Director Eric Toone, former ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar, the Honorable Bart Gordon and IBM Research Senior Director Kathleen Kingscott discuss the future of energy innovation at an ITIF event on August 2. | Energy Department photo.

Principal Deputy Director Eric Toone, former ARPA-E Director Arun Majumdar, the Honorable Bart Gordon and IBM Research Senior Director Kathleen Kingscott discuss the future of energy innovation at an ITIF event on August 2. | Energy Department photo.

Last Thursday’s Information Technology and Innovation Foundation event, the “New Age of Discovery: Government’s Role in Transformative Innovation,” ended with a surprise when Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Principal Deputy Director Eric Toone announced funding for 19 new projects in two new program areas. The new programs, Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), will focus on battery management and storage to advance electric vehicle technologies, help improve the efficiency and reliability of the electrical grid and provide important energy security benefits to our armed forces. Investments like these will put America in control of its energy future, create middle class jobs and build a foundation for future prosperity.

Twelve research projects are receiving $30 million in funding under the AMPED program, which aims to develop advanced sensing and control technologies that could dramatically improve the safety, performance and longevity for grid-scale and vehicle batteries. Unlike other Energy Department efforts to push the frontiers of battery chemistry, AMPED is focused on maximizing the potential of existing battery chemistries.

These innovations will help reduce costs and improve the performance of next generation storage technologies, which could be applied in both plug-in electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. For example, Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, will develop an optical sensor to monitor the internal environment of a lithium-ion battery in real-time.

Under the SBIR program, a total of $13 million will fund seven projects for enterprising small businesses pursuing cutting-edge energy storage developments for stationary power and electric vehicles. These small businesses will develop new innovative battery chemistries and battery designs, continuing ARPA-E’s investment in storage technologies. These awards are part of the larger Department-wide Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

For example, Energy Storage Systems, Inc., in Portland, Oregon, will construct a flow battery for grid-scale storage using an advanced cell design and electrolyte materials composed oflow-cost iron. The flow battery will have a target storage cost of less than $100/kWh, which could enable deployment of renewable energy technologies all across the nation’s power grid.

The 19 new ARPA-E projects span 14 states and will receive a total of $43 million in funding. Visit ARPA-E’s website for more information about ARPA-E, current funding opportunities and previously announced awards.