NREL, DOE’s ARPA-E, & Others Team Up To Improve EV Battery Management

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Recently, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and others related to the Department of Energy (DOE) announced they are teaming up to boost battery optimization in electric vehicles (EVs).

NREL And DOE Team Up To Improve EV Battery Management
Image Credit: Electric Vehicle via  Flickr/Some Rights Reserved

Both the DOE and NREL just announced the Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) initiative in San Francisco.

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Engineers from NREL will team up with the Eaton Corporation, Washington University, and Utah State University in the hopes of improving the efficiency of lithium-ion batteries in EVs. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is providing $7.4 million for the three projects.

Eaton Corporation and NREL will look to improve hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) fuel economy by 50% while not sacrificing battery life. Testing for this project will be done in the NREL laboratories.

Meanwhile, Washington University is looking to increase utlilzation of untapped Li-ion battery capacity by 20% at the cell level. Both NREL and Washington University will look at developing battery management systems, with hardware systems that use mathematical systems to heighten the battery performance.

The system will estimate in real time the best charging time and discharging batteries, while improving charging rates, power capacity, and safety.

While both Eaton Corporation and Washington University are doing some neat stuff, Utah State University and NREL are both looking to improve HEV battery storage rates in cold weather environments by 50% thanks to software and hardware that will “maximize the lifetime of each cell in a battery pack.”

Ford and Colorado State University are also assisting on this project, with testing done at Ford and NREL laboratories.

Overall, the AMPED program is giving out $30 million towards 14 projects which will hope to find improvements in energy storage, and wean society off fossil fuels.

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“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 Ilan Gur, ARPA-E Program Director.

“My hope is that these cutting-edge projects 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,” he said.

As electric and hybrids start to become more popular, announcements like this will help to push battery costs further down. In the first quarter of 2012, battery costs in EV’s dropped to $689 kilowatt-hours (kWh), compared to $800 kWh in 2011.

The Road to Ramped Up Energy Storage Starts Here

The continuing decrease in battery costs is good news for better fuel economy and overall efficiency, and with China and other global competitors staking their claim in the competitive battery market, the advance of clean technology can only benefit.

Main Source: National Renewable Energy Labratory

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Adam Johnston

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business

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