University of Michigan
Approximately 82 percent of energy use in the United States consumes fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas. In terms of sustainability, minimizing dependence on fossil fuel and reducing CO2 emissions are compelling arguments to electrify vehicles and augment the electric grid infrastructure. As efforts to bolster electrical energy production progress, affordable, high-performance, and safe energy storage technology must also advance to enable the transition to an electrical energy economy. This session explores future energy storage needs through fundamental and applied materials research.
Batteries, fundamentally, are compromises among safety, energy density, power density, cost, and lifetime, and the materials required for batteries are actors in this compromise. In this session speakers discuss the many ways materials can be engineered to exploit or mitigate systematic coupling and the ways systems can be engineered to exploit their properties and address material limitations.
Realized in 1991, lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries were rapidly commercialized for use in microelectronics and are currently considered state-of-the-art technology for vehicle electrification. Beyond traditional battery performance metrics (e.g., the Ragone plot), widespread adoption of electric vehicles and advances in grid technology have been limited due to cost and safety constraints of current Li-ion technology. Are these constraints inherent to the technology? Can multidisciplinary engineering address these constraints not only for Li-ion but also for other promising battery chemistries? Or are new chemistries that go beyond Li-ion necessary to keep pace with future energy storage demands? These aspects are discussed in this session.
The first speaker, Alvaro Masias (Ford Motor Company), talked about battery life and safety research. The next speaker, Sarah Stewart (Robert Bosch LLC)
linked fundamental behavior in batteries to manufacturing issues. Specifically, she shared an overview of the challenges she saw while manufacturing battery packs and spoke about how fundamental engineering research could improve the manufacturing cost and reliability of batteries. Next, Claus Daniel (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) articulated the challenges of adapting battery chemistries and large-scale manufacturing for electric vehicles and grid storage. He offered a national lab perspective on the transition between materials discovery and energy storage technology maturation. The discussion also includes technology development perspectives from the Department of Energy, automotive, and electric utility industries. The final speaker, Shirley Meng (University of California, San Diego), covered materials and battery design from the ideal or theoretical perspective, spanning a range of topics from atomic scale phenomena to nanoarchitectures, charge transport, and prototypical batteries.1
1 Paper not included in this volume.