The goal of the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO) is to improve the batteries that power electric vehicles so they have more than double the specific energy—the energy per mass—found in today’s batteries.
To achieve that goal, VTO launched the Innovation Center for Battery500 Consortium in 2016. PNNL leads the Battery500 Consortium and contributes expertise in battery materials and technology research and development. The “500” is in reference to 500 Wh/kg of energy—more than twice that of state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery technologies.
As part of this consortium, PNNL and its collaborators are working to provide electric vehicle manufacturers with batteries that are more reliable, high performing, safe, and less expensive.
The Battery500 Consortium consists of a core team of researchers from four national laboratories and five universities, and ten seedling teams from other national laboratories, universities, and industry. The core team institutes are:
The consortium also has an industry advisory board that includes IBM, Tesla, Livent, the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium, and NAATBatt.
Since the consortium’s launch, the team has made significant strides in battery research and development. This progress includes the identification and quantification of cell failure processes, improvement of electrode materials, creation of novel electrolytes, development of innovative electrode architectures and cell designs, and creation of new testing procedures and protocols. This research is leading to a significant increase of the cycling life of high-energy rechargeable lithium batteries—considered the holy grail of batteries due to their smaller size and ability to carry more energy.
Helped by scientific advances from PNNL and its collaborators as part of the Battery500 Consortium, electric vehicles will one day soon “get a brake” and travel greater distances.