DOE awards $6 million to first crop of Battery500 Seedlings

18650 Batteries (ChargedEVs) 2

The Battery500 consortium, led by the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), intends to build a battery pack with a specific energy of 500 Wh/kg, which would more than double the 170-200 Wh/kg per kilogram in today’s typical EV battery.

Part of the initiative is the “Seedling” program, which identifies new and risky battery research projects to complement the core Battery500 research effort.

Now, DOE has selected the first crop of Seedlings: 15 Phase 1 projects will receive around $5.7 million in funding. Promising Phase 1 awardees will be selected after 18 months for a second phase of research.

The Battery500 project is focused on three keystone projects: a high-nickel-content cathode with a Li-metal anode; a sulfur cathode and Li-metal anode; and innovative electrode and cell design. The Seedling projects are intended to enhance one of these projects, or to provide new concepts.

“If we are going to meet the 500 Wh/kg mark at the cell level, we have to work on a good cathode, put it together with a good electrolyte, maybe solid-state, and the anode, all in a unique architecture,” said David Howell, Deputy Director, DOE Vehicle Technologies Office. “We have made a lot of progress in the past in Li-ion technology. We are taking the expertise and refocusing it on the longer-term issues. If we can achieve our targets, that would result in a significant boost in the performance of batteries and a significant reduction in cost.”


Some of the Seedling projects funded in this round:

  • University of Maryland: Research innovative iron-based materials for high-energy cathodes.
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: Research thick cathodes using freeze casting methods for solid-state lithium batteries.
  • Penn State: Research multifunctional Li-ion-conducting interfacial materials that enable lithium metal anodes.
  • Mercedes-Benz R&D North America: Research a scalable synthesis to enable very thin coatings on solid-state electrolyte membranes to enable a Li-sulfur battery.
  • University of Maryland: Using 3D-printed, low tortuosity frameworks, develop solid state Li-ion batteries.
  • General Motors LLC: Design pouch-format cells for lithium-sulfur batteries to achieve high energy density and long cycle life.
  • University of Pittsburgh: Research sulfur electrodes utilizing lithium-ion conductor (LIC) coatings for Li-S batteries.
  • Cornell University: Research highly loaded sulfur cathodes and conductive carbon coated separators.
  • University of Maryland: Research advanced electrolytes to limit dendrite growth in lithium-metal cells.
  • Texas A&M: Examine the interface between solid-state electrolytes and lithium metal anodes and identify potential methods for mitigating dendrite growth.
  • Navitas Advanced Solutions Group: Research a solvent-free process to fabricate all-solid Li batteries.
  • Wayne State University: Research novel full-cell lithium metal batteries based on 3-dimensional architectures.
  • Oregon State University: Research and develop a new process to produce graphene composite cathodes to inhibit polysulfides to enhance cycle life.
  • SUNY: Research Li-sulfur batteries using a novel sulfur-rich nanosheet composite cathode.
  • University of Houston: Research solid-state lithium batteries with organic cathode materials.


Source: Green Car Congress