January 8, 2021
Web Feature

Battery Up: PNNL Runs the Bases with Industry, Academia to Boost Batteries

PNNL battery experts teaming with three corporations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Battery research setup in lab

PNNL will bring energy storage expertise and capabilities to four projects with industry and academia focused on advancing batteries.

(Photo by Andrea Starr | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Battery experts at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and four heavy hitters from industry and academia have formed partnerships this past year designed to advance battery materials and processes.

In June 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Manufacturing Office and Vehicle Technologies Office, under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, requested that the national laboratories establish public-private partnerships addressing manufacturing challenges for advanced battery materials and devices—with a focus on de-risking, scaling, and accelerating adoption of new technologies.

Thirteen projects were selected as a result of this call. PNNL will lead two projects—partnering with:

  • North Carolina-based Albemarle, a major specialty chemical manufacturing company and one of the world’s leading producers of lithium for electric vehicle batteries, on the project “Scaling Up of High-Performance Single Crystalline Ni-rich Cathode Materials with Advanced Lithium Salts.”
  • Arizona-based Ampcera Inc., an innovator in development and commercialization of high-performance, solid-state electrolyte materials and scalable manufacturing processes for next-generation batteries. The University of Washington is also a collaborator. The team will focus on “Scaling-Up and Roll-to-Roll Processing of Highly Conductive Sulfide Solid-State Electrolytes.”

Through a second DOE funding opportunity to strengthen advanced manufacturing competitiveness, PNNL will collaborate with two entities, bringing a strong bench in materials engineering to work on high-impact manufacturing technology, materials, and process challenges:

  • Applied Materials, Inc., a California-based supplier of equipment, services, and software for manufacturing semiconductor chips. The team will collaborate on “Advanced Anode Manufacturing through Ultra-Thin Li Deposition.”
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the project “Machine-Learned Processing Pathways for Solid State Electrolytes.” The team will identify, screen, and formulate solid-state electrolytes, whose ionic conductivity and electrochemical stability are comparable to that of current, conventional liquid electrolytes but with improved energy density and safety.

These opportunities support DOE’s Energy Storage Grand Challenge, which draws on the extensive research capabilities of the DOE national laboratories, as well as universities and industry to accelerate the development of energy storage technologies and sustain American global leadership in the energy storage technologies of the future.