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DOE research to improve EV batteries

Mon, 01/21/2013 - 17:36 -- Ruth Williams

The US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is teaming up with research partners to improve the performance, life and lower cost of lithium-ion batteries for electric-drive vehicles.

NREL will work with Utah State University, Washington University and Eaton Corporation on three projects collectively called Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED).

The project has been awarded a total of US$7.4 million from the DOE. US$3 million has gone to Utah State University to improve power management of large battery packs. The objectives are to either reduce the size of a battery by 20% or increase the life of current size packs by 20% and to increase cold temperature charge rates by 50%.

Eaton Corporation is receiving US$2.4 million to develop a power control system that will improve fuel economy for hybrid and electric vehicles, without compromising battery life.

While Washington University is receiving US$2 million to optimise cell capacity with a BMS that calculates the optimal charge and discharge of batteries in real-time, enhance battery performance, improve battery safety, charge-rate and usable power capacity.

Testing will take place at NREL laboratories and other research bodies will be involved to improve battery chemistries, battery management and storage to electric vehicle technologies and to help improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid.