A total of $6.6 million in new funding has been awarded by ARPA-E to two projects currently working to develop manufacturing techniques for ceramic electrolytes for solid-state electric vehicle batteries, as part of a new 2015 OPEN funding round. The new round is seeing $125 million awarded to 41 different projects.
The $6.6 million will be divided thusly: $3.5 million going to a consortium headed by the University of Michigan, and $3.1 million going to Corning Incorporated.
For some basic background here, solid-state lithium batteries are a promising technology owing to the fact that energy density could potentially be doubled from that of the lithium-ion batteries currently in use. Another possible advantage is the elimination of the use of conventional flammable electrolytes.
Here’s a brief overview of the two projects via Green Car Congress:
In a project labeled “Transitioning Advanced Ceramic Electrolytes into Manufacturable Solid-State EV Batteries,” researchers at the University of Michigan and partners will develop new electrode structures and manufacturing techniques to incorporate Lithium (Li)-conducting ceramic electrolytes into solid-state batteries. The U-M project is led by Jeff Sakamoto, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, who is also affiliated with with U-M’s Energy Institute. Like many energy storage researchers, Sakamoto has been exploring solid-state batteries, which don’t use a liquid electrolyte. Liquid electrolyte contributes to many of the lithium-ion battery’s limitations. His APRA-E proposal aims for an inexpensive, highly efficient solid-state battery that is tough and safe enough to power a vehicle.
In Corning’s project, “Roll-to-Roll Processing Ceramic Battery Electrolyte,” researchers there will develop roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques to produce thin ceramic electrolytes for solid-state batteries. The technology developed in this project is intended to enable solid-state batteries to be produced economically and at high volumes.
As always with battery research… Don’t hold your breath. Nonetheless, this seems worth taking note of.