It has not been a quiet year for Indianapolis-based EnerDel, the li-ion battery subsidiary of Ener1. Senator Evan Bayh spoke at the commissioning of EnerDel's li-ion battery plant in May. Back in March, Ener1 discussed its "$480 million in 10 year financing to expand the first large scale lithium-ion cell manufacturing facility in the United States for automotive and stationary power." And, of course, there was the Th!nk thing.
This week, EnerDel can add another bit of good news to its announcement list. The company was awarded $3.3 million form the Department of Energy to work on improving the safety of advanced automotive batteries. Specifically, the goal is "to eliminate overcharging in lithium-ion cells." EnerDel will work with the Argonne National Laboratories in Chicago on the project, which looks to refine the base chemistry of the lithium cells so that excess energy is simply sent through the cell instead of into it.
Unlike yesterday's AVTMP announcements, the money for EnerDel comes from the DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program. Ener1 has also applied for AVTMP and Advanced Battery Manufacturing Initiative monies.
EnerDel Awarded $3.3 Million For Safety Research on Auto Lithium-ion Battery
INDIANAPOLIS, IN UNITED STATES
Department of Energy Project Targets Cell R&D to Improve Charging Performance
INDIANAPOLIS, June 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Advanced lithium-ion automotive battery developer EnerDel has been awarded up to $3.3 million for a cost-share research project under the U.S. Department of Energy. This will be the largest of a set of new projects announced under DOE's Vehicle Technologies Program, and will focus on the development of innovative technologies to eliminate overcharging in lithium-ion cells.
The program is separate from the Department's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program and Advanced Battery Manufacturing Initiative grant program, where Ener1 also has applications pending for large-scale expansion of its domestic manufacturing capacity.
"EnerDel is deeply committed to the continuous improvement of advanced lithium-ion automotive battery technology," said EnerDel CEO Ulrik Grape. "This award by the Department of Energy will help us enhance the reliability, safety and performance characteristics of lithium-ion batteries and widen their scope of commercial application."
The project will be conducted jointly with Argonne National Laboratories in Chicago and will focus on a new chemical additive that acts as a "shuttle agent" to effectively cap the voltage of the cell. The additive transports the charge through the cell once the desired voltage is reached. Overcharging cells in pack systems is normally monitored with voltage monitoring circuits. Refining this at the base chemistry level of the cell will vastly improve reliability and overall pack efficiency.
"This project gives us the opportunity to work with our partners at EnerDel to push the boundaries of next-generation battery technology, to produce tangible benefits for the industry and ultimately the consumer," said Khalil Amine, senior scientist and manager of the advanced battery technology group at Argonne.
The close relationship between EnerDel and Argonne is setting the standard for collaboration with the U.S. national research laboratories. The lithium-titanate chemistry which EnerDel combines with a lithium manganese oxide spinel-based cathode for its hybrid electric vehicle offering was originally developed in partnership with Argonne, and recently received the Excellence in Technology Transfer award.
"It is unquestionably the safest, among the most reliable and lowest cost lithium-ion battery on the market for HEVs," Amine said.
In total, seven projects under this program were awarded by the DOE ranging from $500,000 to $3.3 million and will be conducted over the next three years. All of them will focus on aspects of improving battery material performance or decreasing cost.
EnerDel, a subsidiary of Ener1, Inc. (Nasdaq: HEV), develops and manufactures compact, high performance lithium-ion batteries to power the next generation of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles. Led by an experienced team of engineers and energy system experts, the company is building proprietary innovations based on technology originally pioneered at the Argonne National Laboratory.
EnerDel produces its batteries at its state-of-the-art facilities in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is expecting to be the first company to mass-produce a cost-competitive lithium-ion battery for hybrid and electric vehicles. In addition to the automobile market, applications for EnerDel lithium-ion battery technology include medical, military, aerospace, electric utility and other growing markets.
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