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University of Michigan to open ceramic ion conductor research center

Ceramic ion conductors for batteries and fuel cells will be the focus of a new research center at the University of Michigan.

A four-year DOE grant of $10.95 million will enable UMich to establish a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center for the study of Mechano-chemical Understanding of Solid Ion Conductors (MUSIC), and perform research in collaboration with eight other institutions.

“The recent discovery of ceramic ion conductors that simultaneously exhibit unprecedented performance and stability has the potential to change the electrochemical energy storage technology landscape,” says MUSIC Director Jeff Sakamoto.

“We have decades of fundamental research into ion conduction in ceramics to work with, and we’re applying that knowledge towards emerging applications such as batteries and fuel cells,” says MUSIC Deputy Director Neil Dasgupta.

“However, critical barriers remain before widespread commercialization can be realized—many of which center around the unique mechanical properties that emerge at solid-solid interfaces in electrochemical cells,” says Dasgupta. “An overarching goal of MUSIC is to reveal the fundamental mechanisms of how mechanical stresses and strains interact with electrochemistry, which will inform future efforts to scale up and accelerate commercialization of next-generation energy storage technology.”

Project researchers will also study the use of new materials in manufacturing to reduce the cost of batteries, and how ceramic ion conductors affect charge capacity in lithium metal and sodium metal chemistries.

Source: University of Michigan

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