Techno-Economic Modeling

JCESR has developed computer models that combine scientific and technical parameters with cost. These models are being used to evaluate the best pathways for beyond-lithium-ion systems to reach $100 per kilowatt-hour, a key parameter for batteries used in electric vehicles and on the grid.

One of the most difficult challenges in developing transformative battery technologies is predicting what combinations of materials will produce the highest performance and cost. To address this challenge, JCESR is using techno-economic models to design virtual batteries on the computer for all three energy storage concepts. The models go well beyond the more common “theoretical energy density” analyses that include the electrochemically active materials only and not the non-active materials such as battery or cell housing, current collectors, and electrode separators and membranes.

The modeling projects the performance and cost of a wide array of promising new battery systems to be used either in electric vehicles or on the grid. Those systems predicted to meet JCESR performance (400 Wh/kg) and cost ($100 per kilowatt-hour) targets can then be tested in the laboratory. Those that show promise in the laboratory can then be prototyped.

The modeling results serve multiple ends:

  • Linking battery-system level goals to materials-level properties such as cell voltage, capacity, and diffusion coefficient
  • Directing research dollars to the most promising paths forward
  • Identifying crucial barriers to transformational advances for the three energy storage concepts

“The beyond lithium-ion space is vast, rich and largely unexplored, with 50-100 distinct battery candidates that might deliver transformative performance and cost. Techno-economic modeling is an essential component in JCESR’s management strategy for directing the research to the most promising candidates and understanding the main challenges and barriers.”
– JCESR Director George Crabtree

Building New Battery Systems on the Computer

JCESR is applying techno-economic models to project the performance and cost of a wide array of promising new battery systems before they are prototyped. The results from techno-economic modeling establish performance “floors” for discovery science teams looking for new anodes, cathodes, and electrolytes for a beyond lithium-ion battery, identifying those with the potential to meet JCESR’s goal and rejecting those unlikely to be effective.

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