ARPA-E’s new EV battery storage funding program, called RANGE, is aimed at finding ways improve EV vehicle range and costs re-envisioning the total EV battery system (rather than working to increase the energy density of individual battery cells.) In August, ARPA-E announced that 22 projects will receive a total of $36 million to develop new electric vehicle (EV) energy storage systems that use unconventional chemistries, architectures, and designs. (see the full list of 22 projects that received funding)
Using its funding of $999,000, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) energy storage research team will work with project partners EIC Laboratories and Chemtura Corporation to develop a new low-cost battery that operates in a similar way to a flow battery, where chemical energy is stored in liquid anolytes and catholytes that flow through an electrode to charge and discharge the system. However, NREL’s EV battery technology will deploy newly developed, high energy, renewable organic compounds in modified system architecture to overcome current shortfalls in flow batteries, which include unreliability and poor efficiency.
In a separate NREL initiative, which focuses on plug-in electric vehicle-to-grid integration, it announced that scientists and engineers in NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility (ESIF) and Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility will use 20 Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicles from Toyota to develop and explore ways to prepare grid operators and energy infrastructure to accommodate the growing US electric vehicle fleet.
NREL is also working with the US Army to develop the Consolidated Utility Base Energy (CUBE) System—a solar, battery and generator hybrid power system that provides electricity to forward operating bases.
Furthermore, the US military is expected to acquire more than 92,400 EVs for non-tactical purposes from 2013 to 2020, says Navigant in a recent report. One particular area of focus for the military market is the development of microgrids in tandem with vehicle-to-grid (V2G)-enabled plug-in EVs.