Power Electronics

Battelle Wins $1M ARPA-E Grant to Research Battery Safety

Battery safety and performance will be of increasing importance as the world confronts its demand for safe, reliable and affordable energy storage devices. With a $1 million award from Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), Battelle scientists will improve the safety of high-energy lithium-ion batteries by developing internal sensing.

For the next year and a half, Battelle will work closely with ARPA-E to develop an optical sensor to monitor the internal environment of lithium-ion batteries in real time for electric vehicles and grid storage devices. The technology began as the collaborative brainchild of several engineers and scientists at Battelle and includes experts from mechanical, electrical, and optical engineering, physics, material science, as well as electrochemistry expertise from the University of Akron.

When completed, the Battelle team hopes to provide a demonstration of the patent-protected technology for ARPA-E and seek a teaming organization for commercialization. "The sensor will blanket the battery in light to detect faults in the rare instances they occur," said Jim Saunders, a research leader at Battelle. "That way, we'll be able to provide early warnings with time for corrective actions."

In August, ARPA-E officials announced that 12 transformative projects under the Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) program received $30 million in funding to develop advanced sensing and control technologies that could dramatically improve and provide new innovations in safety, performance, and lifetime for grid-scale and vehicle batteries.

"If successful, the advanced sensing, diagnostic, and control technologies developed under the AMPED program will allow us to unlock enormous untapped potential in the performance, safety, and lifetime of today's commercial battery systems," said ARPA-E Program Director Ilan Gur. "My hope is that Battelle's cutting-edge light sensing technology will accelerate the impact of vehicle and grid-scale energy storage in reducing our country's reliance on imported fuels and improving the safety, security, and economic efficiency of our electricity grid."

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