Promising Directions and the Tools to Get Us There

At the halfway point in our five-year charter, we have narrowed our research directions within the three promising energy storage concepts we are pursuing:

  • In replacing singly charged lithium ions in lithium-ion batteries with doubly or triply charged ions (multivalent intercalation”), we are focusing on doubly charged magnesium as the working ion, which, in theory, could double energy storage capacity.
  • In replacing intercalation with chemical reaction (“chemical transformation”), we are focusing on lithium as the working ion, lithium metal as the anode, and sulfur as the cathode.
  • In replacing crystalline anodes and cathodes with liquids (“non-aqueous redox flow”), we have developed innovative and versatile polymer and colloid formats that are readily size selectable. This new paradigm for flow batteries can be adapted to a host of redox-active organic molecules.

In converging these directions to proof-of-concept prototypes, we make extensive use of JCESR’s distinguishing tools:

  • Materials and Electrolyte Genome Projects, a big data approach to battery materials research. JCESR researchers are simulating tens of thousands of electrode and electrolyte candidates on the computer to identify the few most promising candidates for synthesis and characterization in the laboratory.
  • A unique Electrochemical Discovery Laboratory, launched in the past year, providing state of the art tools to synthesize and characterize electrochemical interfaces, where the fundamental energy storage phenomena take place.
  • Techno-economic models for simulating battery systems on the computer, to project the performance and cost of new battery designs before they are prototyped.

The identification of specific promising directions within JCESR’s three broad storage concepts, the use of distinguishing tools including the Materials and Electrolyte Genomes, the Electrochemical Discovery Lab and Techno-economic modeling, and a strong focus on strategic planning for science and prototyping outcomes refine JCESR’s new paradigm for battery R&D. They provide a powerful platform for delivering JCESR’s three legacies in the second half of its charter.

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