ACCESS aims to transfer battery innovations to the marketplace by providing processes, materials, performance testing data, and finished cells to industries including transportation, consumer electronics, and materials manufacture and supply. Customers working with ACCESS—regardless of their size and whether they are government agencies, national security interests, or entrepreneurs—can realize their potential to bring transformational energy storage to the world.
Argonne has a storied history in battery innovation dating to the 1960s and has emerged as the leader in tackling today’s transportation energy storage challenges. The laboratory’s development of lithium- and manganese-rich cathode materials provided industry with more stability and higher capacity than pre-existing designs while contributing to a general decrease in the cost of vehicle batteries.
Current capabilities at Argonne in system-level modeling demonstrate how novel materials and technologies will affect consumers, manufacturers, and the larger market, allowing innovators to foresee the effects of their research efforts prior to investment.
Argonne scientists set out to improve the performance of the anode, cathode, and electrolyte materials in the lithium-ion batteries used in a majority of today’s handheld devices. Only by improving the characteristics of each part of the battery can researchers maximize capacity, voltage, and overall cycle life.
These efforts are enabled by Argonne’s diversified battery expertise in materials, manufacturing, and modeling.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Army National Guard, Staff Sgt. Roby Di Giovine
Much like consumers, the military seeks battery innovation across a range of technologies, from electronics to transportation to stationary power. However, because military operations often take place in harsh, rugged environments, the defense industry requires specialized innovation far beyond the needs of the commercial marketplace.
Argonne’s rich energy storage history, world-class facilities, and unique capabilities enable customized battery design for unique military applications, including unmanned aerial vehicles, military vehicle components, handheld and manpack radios, military personal digital assistants and computers, and forward mission devices.
With the rapid transition to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, Argonne scientists are using modeling to identify the best ways to integrate energy storage on the grid. This work can facilitate the adoption of higher levels of intermittent grid-connected renewables. The laboratory’s expertise in grid modeling can also assist utilities in managing peak load times and help remote industries understand their backup energy storage options.
Grid modeling will likewise be critical in the realization of the Smart Grid, a flexible distribution system that allows for communication between power generators and consumers within the network.
Stationary Energy Storage
Stationary storage has numerous applications at the residential level, such as providing back-up power, facilitating peak load management, and improving power quality and flow. Because less-developed grids outside the U.S. rely on a range of alternatives for essential electricity, advancing stationary energy storage will assist these regions by supplying more reliable power to vulnerable populations.
This technology will also be instrumental in facilitating the missions of remote industries, such as oil and gas, which cannot rely on the grid due to their locations.
Materials Development and Manufacture
Argonne researchers are working to understand the impact of impurities in battery materials and precursors that are critical to energy storage innovation.
The laboratory also works with manufacturers to advance processes, such as those used to scale up additives with higher yields, that will enable more efficient and economical production of next-generation technologies.