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ARPA-E awards IIT-Argonne team $3.4 million for breakthrough battery technology

September 3, 2013 in Battery Energy Storage, Electric Vehicles, EV News

Researchers (left to right) Dileep Singh, Carlo Segre, Mike Duoba, John Katsoudas, Elena Timofeeva, and Chris Pelliccione stand by one of the plug-in electric vehicles they hope to revolutionize with the IIT-Argonne “nanoelectrofuel” flow battery technology they are developing.  Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory

Researchers (left to right) Dileep Singh, Carlo Segre, Mike Duoba, John Katsoudas, Elena Timofeeva, and Chris Pelliccione stand by one of the plug-in electric vehicles they hope to revolutionize with the IIT-Argonne “nanoelectrofuel” flow battery technology they are developing.
Photo courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory

CHICAGO – Carlo Segre, Duchossois Leadership Professor of Physics at Illinois Institute of Technology, has received a $3.4 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) to develop a breakthrough battery technology that may more than double the current range of electric vehicles (EV), increase safety, reduce costs and simplify recharging.

Segre and his collaborators John Katsoudas, also of IIT, and Elena Timofeeva, Dileep Singh and Michael Duoba of Argonne National Laboratory will develop a prototype for a rechargeable “nanoelectrofuel” flow battery that may extend the range of EVs to at least 500 miles and provide a straightforward and rapid method of refueling. Current EV ranges are 100-200 miles, with recharging taking up to eight hours.

Flow batteries, which store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container, are generally low in energy density and therefore not used for transportation applications.  The IIT-Argonne nanoelectrofuel flow battery concept will use a high-energy density “liquid” with battery-active nanoparticles to dramatically increase energy density while ensuring stability and low-resistance flow within the battery.

“I am delighted by this award, not only because of the quality and importance of the proposed research but also as another example of the longstanding and effective collaboration between IIT and the world-class researchers and facilities at Argonne,” said Russell Betts, dean of the College of Science at IIT.

Segre’s expertise is in the structure and properties of materials using synchrotron radiation techniques. He has a wide variety of ongoing research projects, including fuel-cell catalysts and battery materials. Segre is deputy director of the Materials Research Collaborative Access Team (MR-CAT) beamline at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), located at Argonne; and director of the Center for Synchrotron Radiation Research and Instrumentation (CSRRI) at IIT.

Katsoudas and Timofeeva began their work on the IIT-Argonne nanoelectrofuel flow battery at Argonne, leveraging Timofeeva’s expertise in nanofluids engineering and electrochemistry. Katsoudas is an expert in instrumentation design, automation of experiments and materials characterization.

Singh will bring to bear on the project his knowledge of how nanoparticle-fluid interaction effects the thermal management and behavior of nanoparticles in the IIT-Argonne nanoelectrofuel flow battery. Duoba’s expertise in vehicle systems and EV testing, in particular, will provide critical guidance in the development of a nanoelectrofuel battery prototype for EV applications.

The IIT award is one of 22 projects across the country awarded a total of $36 million through the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy Robust Affordable Next Generation EV Storage (RANGE) program, which seeks to develop innovative EV battery chemistries, architectures and designs. ARPA-E was officially authorized in 2007 and first funded in 2009. The agency invests in high-potential, high-impact energy technologies that are too early for private sector investment.

IIT and Argonne will share the funding award to continue their research.

Founded in 1890, IIT is a Ph.D.-granting university offering degrees in engineering, sciences, architecture, psychology, design, humanities, business, and law. IIT’s interprofessional, technology-focused curriculum is designed to advance knowledge through research and scholarship, to cultivate invention improving the human condition, and to prepare students from throughout the world for a life of professional achievement, service to society, and individual fulfillment. Visit www.iit.edu.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

This article is a repost (news release 8-30-13), credit: Argonne National Laboratory, http://www.anl.gov/.

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Energy Department Partners with EU on Electric Vehicle and Smart Grid Coordination, Source: DOE

July 20, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News, Greentech

Yesterday, representatives from the Energy Department, the European Commission and Argonne National Lab celebrated the launch of the Electric Vehicle-Smart Grid Interoperability Center. From left to right: Mr. Giovanni De Santi, Director of the JRC Institute for energy and transport (IET); Mr. Dominique Ristori, Director-General of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC); Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe, Asia and the Americas; Dr. Eric Isaacs, Director of Argonne National Laboratory. | Photo courtesy of Argonne National Lab. Courtesy of DOE

Yesterday, representatives from the Energy Department, the European Commission and Argonne National Lab celebrated the launch of the Electric Vehicle-Smart Grid Interoperability Center. From left to right: Mr. Giovanni De Santi, Director of the JRC Institute for energy and transport (IET); Mr. Dominique Ristori, Director-General of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC); Dr. Phyllis Yoshida, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe, Asia and the Americas; Dr. Eric Isaacs, Director of Argonne National Laboratory. | Photo courtesy of Argonne National Lab.
Courtesy of DOE

Electric vehicles (EV) seem to be everywhere these days. As Secretary Moniz highlighted today, plug-in hybrid sales doubled in the first six months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012 — and sales are only expected to grow as the next generation of cars and grid systems demonstrate even greater cost saving for consumers.

That is why the Energy Department launched a new center this week that will work to ensure that vehicles, charging stations, communications and networking systems work in unison with the electric grid. The Electric Vehicle-Smart Grid Interoperability Center, located at Argonne National Laboratory just outside of Chicago, will work to harmonize emerging EV and smart grid technologies.

Why is this important? The emergence of EVs brings new economic opportunities for local utilities. Large-scale capital investment by companies for the deployment of EVs, chargers and the smart grid will depend on the ability of consumers to conveniently, safely and securely charge — anywhere, anytime. This will require close linkages between the automotive and utility industries as new demand for electricity brings the need for new investments in power generation and grid systems.

Leveraging Argonne’s EV and battery expertise, the new center will focus on three key areas:

  1. Establishing requirements and test procedures to assess EV-electric vehicle supply equipment compatibility;
  2. Developing and verifying connectivity technologies, communication protocols and standards; and
  3. Identifying gaps where new standards or technologies are needed for solutions using proof-of-concept hardware/software systems.

The work at Argonne will also be complemented by the launch of a European Interoperability Center by the European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Center at facilities in Ispra, Italy, and Petten, Netherlands, in 2014. Employing common test procedures, interoperability standards and test comparisons, the U.S. government and EC will work together to ensure harmonized technologies and to prevent unnecessary regulatory divergence, helping foster the development of the transatlantic EV market and create new jobs.

These efforts support coordinated initiatives under the U.S.-EU Energy Council and Transatlantic Economic Council. For more on the Electric Vehicle-Smart Grid Interoperability Center, visit Argonne’s website.

This article is a repost, credit: US Department of Energy, http://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-partners-eu-electric-vehicle-and-smart-grid-coordination.

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Energy Department Releases Updated eGallon Prices as Electric Vehicle Sales Double, Source: DOE

July 19, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz  Photo courtesy of DOE

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
Photo courtesy of DOE

WASHINGTON — U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today highlighted the continued growth of electric vehicle sales – doubling in the first 6 months of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012 – as the Energy Department released its most recent pricing data showing the low cost of fueling on electricity.  The eGallon, a quick and simple way for consumers to compare the costs of fueling electric vehicles vs. driving on gasoline, rose slightly to $1.18 from $1.14 in the latest monthly numbers, but remains far below the $3.49 cost of a gallon of gasoline.

“More and more Americans are taking advantage of the low and stable price of electricity as a transportation fuel, and that’s very good news for our economy as well as the environment,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.  “As the market continues to grow, electric vehicles will play a key role in our effort to reduce air pollution and slow the effects of climate change.”

Plug-In Electric Vehicle Sales Figures

Plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) sales tripled from about 17,000 in 2011 to about 52,000 in 2012.  During the first six months of 2013, Americans bought over 40,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEV), more than twice as many sold during the same period in 2012.

The latest numbers also show how the early years of the PEV market have seen much faster growth than the early years of the hybrid vehicle market.  Thirty months after the first hybrid was introduced, monthly sales figures were under 3,000.

By comparison, PEVs – which were first introduced in December 2010 – report nearly 9,000 cars sold in the last month. At the same time, thanks to technology improvements and growing domestic manufacturing capacity, the cost of a battery has come down by nearly 50 percent in the last four years, and is expected to drop to $10,000 by 2015.

The Energy Department’s Argonne National Laboratory provides regular updates on monthly sales reported by automakers.  Because Tesla Motors has not yet reported its second quarter sales figures, the site uses independent market estimates from the Hybrid Market Dashboard as a placeholder until the final sales numbers come in from the company.

eGallon

Last month, the Energy Department launched the eGallon to let consumers compare the cost of fueling with electricity vs. gasoline.  Since electricity prices vary from state to state, the page allows consumers to get information specific to their own state.  For example, an eGallon is $1.53 in California (compared to $3.98 for gasoline) and $1.13 in Texas (compared to $3.33 for gasoline).  eGallon prices are available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia on Energy.gov/eGallon.

This article is a repost, credit: US Department of Energy, http://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-releases-updated-egallon-prices-electric-vehicle-sales-double.

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Microorganisms found in salt flats could offer new path to green hydrogen fuel, Source: Argonne National Lab

July 16, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Toyota

An NREL employee test drives one of the Toyota Highlander fuel cell hybrid vehicles at the lab's Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle Ride and Drive Event. The event was part of Earth Week festivities at NREL.  Photo credit: Dennis Schroeder Courtesy of NREL

An NREL employee test drives one of the Toyota Highlander fuel cell hybrid vehicles at the lab’s Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle Ride and Drive Event. The event was part of Earth Week festivities at NREL.
Photo credit: Dennis Schroeder
Courtesy of NREL

ARGONNE, Ill. – A protein found in the membranes of ancient microorganisms that live in desert salt flats could offer a new way of using sunlight to generate environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel, according to a new study by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory.

Argonne nanoscientist Elena Rozhkova and her colleagues combined a pigment called bacteriorhodopsin with semiconducting nanoparticles to create a system that uses light to spark a catalytic process that creates hydrogen fuel.

Scientists have been aware of the potential of titanium dioxide nanoparticles for light-based reactions since the early 1970s, when Japanese researchers discovered that a titanium dioxide electrode exposed to bright ultraviolet light could split water molecules in a phenomenon that came to be known as the Honda-Fujishima effect. Since then, scientists have made continuous efforts to extend the light reactivity of titanium dioxide photocatalysts into the visible part of the spectrum. The promise of these photocatalysts prompted scientists to experiment with different modifications to their basic chemistry in hope of making the reaction more efficient, Rozhkova said.

“Titanium dioxide alone reacts with ultraviolet light, but not with visible light, so we used biological photoreactive molecules as a building block to create a hybrid system that could use visible light efficiently,” Rozhkova said.

Rozhkova and her colleagues turned to bacteriorhodopsin – which is responsible for the unusual purple color of a number of salt flats in California and Nevada – because it uses sunlight as an energy source that allows it to act as a “proton pump.”  Proton pumps are proteins that typically straddle a cellular membrane and transfer protons from inside the cell to the extracellular space.

In the Argonne system, the protons provided by the bacteriorhodopsin are combined with free electrons at small platinum sites interspersed in the titanium dioxide matrix.  “The platinum nanoparticles are essential for creating a distinct spot for the production of the hydrogen molecule,” said Peng Wang, an Argonne postdoctoral researcher in Rozhkova’s group at Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials.

“It is interesting that in biology, bacteriorhodopsin does not naturally participate in these kind of reactions,” Rozhkova said. “Its natural function really doesn’t have much to do at all with creating hydrogen. But as part of this hybrid, it helps make hydrogen under white light and at environmentally friendly conditions.”

This bio-assisted hybrid photocatalyst outperforms many other similar systems in hydrogen generation and could be a good candidate for fabrication of green energy devices that consume virtually infinite sources – salt water and sunlight.

An article based on the study was recently published in Nanoletters. The work was performed at Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory is one of the five DOE Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs), premier national user facilities for interdisciplinary research at the nanoscale, supported by the DOE Office of Science.  Together, the NSRCs comprise a suite of complementary facilities that provide researchers with state-of-the-art capabilities to fabricate, process, characterize and model nanoscale materials, and constitute the largest infrastructure investment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The NSRCs are located at DOE’s Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge and Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories.

This article is a repost, credit: Argonne National Laboratory, http://www.anl.gov/articles/microorganisms-found-salt-flats-could-offer-new-path-green-hydrogen-fuel.

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Discovery of new material state counterintuitive to laws of physics, Source: Argonne National Lab

June 11, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech

LEMONT, Ill. – When you squeeze something, it gets smaller. Unless you’re at Argonne National Laboratory.

At the suburban Chicago laboratory, a group of scientists has seemingly defied the laws of physics and found a way to apply pressure to make a material expand instead of compress/contract.

“It’s like squeezing a stone and forming a giant sponge,” said Karena Chapman, a chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy laboratory. “Materials are supposed to become denser and more compact under pressure. We are seeing the exact opposite. The pressure-treated material has half the density of the original state. This is counterintuitive to the laws of physics.”

Because this behavior seems impossible, Chapman and her colleagues spent several years testing and retesting the material until they believed the unbelievable and understood how the impossible could be possible. For every experiment, they got the same mind-bending results.

“The bonds in the material completely rearrange,” Chapman said. “This just blows my mind.”

This discovery will do more than rewrite the science text books; it could double the variety of porous framework materials available for manufacturing, health care and environmental sustainability.

Scientists use these framework materials, which have sponge-like holes in their structure, to trap, store and filter materials. The shape of the sponge-like holes makes them selectable for specific molecules, allowing their use as water filters, chemical sensors and compressible storage for carbon dioxide sequestration of hydrogen fuel cells. By tailoring release rates, scientists can adapt these frameworks to deliver drugs and initiate chemical reactions for the production of everything from plastics to foods.

“This could not only open up new materials to being porous, but it could also give us access to new structures for selectability and new release rates,” said Peter Chupas, an Argonne chemist who helped discover the new materials.

The team published the details of their work in the May 22 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society in an article titled “Exploiting High Pressures to Generate Porosity, Polymorphism, And Lattice Expansion in the Nonporous Molecular Framework Zn(CN)2.”

The scientists put zinc cyanide, a material used in electroplating, in a diamond-anvil cell at the Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne and applied high pressures of 0.9 to 1.8 gigapascals, or about 9,000 to 18,000 times the pressure of the atmosphere at sea level. This high pressure is within the range affordably reproducible by industry for bulk storage systems. By using different fluids around the material as it was squeezed, the scientists were able to create five new phases of material, two of which retained their new porous ability at normal pressure. The type of fluid used determined the shape of the sponge-like pores. This is the first time that hydrostatic pressure has been able to make dense materials with interpenetrated atomic frameworks into novel porous materials. Several series of in situ high-pressure X-ray powder diffraction experiments were performed at the 1-BM, 11-ID-B, and 17-BM beamlines of the APS to study the material transitions.

“By applying pressure, we were able to transform a normally dense, nonporous material into a range of new porous materials that can hold twice as much stuff,” Chapman said. “This counterintuitive discovery will likely double the amount of available porous framework materials, which will greatly expand their use in pharmaceutical delivery, sequestration, material separation and catalysis.”

The scientists will continue to test the new technique on other materials.

The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory is one of five national synchrotron radiation light sources supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science to carry out applied and basic research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels, provide the foundations for new energy technologies, and support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. To learn more about the Office of Science X-ray user facilities, visit the Office of Science website.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

This article is a repost, credit: Argonne National Laboratory, http://www.anl.gov/articles/discovery-new-material-state-counterintuitive-laws-physics.

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WEEKLY ADDRESS: Time to Create the Energy Security Trust, The White House

March 16, 2013 in EV Campaigns, EV News, Politics

Source: Office of the Press Secretary

Source: Office of the Press Secretary

DC— In this week’s address, President Obama spoke to the American people from the Argonne National Laboratory, which he toured earlier that day, about the facility’s focus on harnessing American energy in order to reduce our dependence on oil and make the United States a magnet for new jobs.  The President highlighted his “all-of-the-above” approach to American energy, including his proposal to establish an Energy Security Trust, which invests revenue from offshore oil and gas development in research that will help shift our cars and trucks off of oil.  These investments, which are focused on a range of technologies including electric vehicles and advanced batteries as well as investments in advanced biofuels and cars that run on natural gas, will continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on oil, support job creation, increase energy security, and save families money at the pump – all while cutting harmful carbon pollution.  These efforts build on the historic steps taken in the President’s first term to protect consumers and reduce oil consumption, including the historic fuel economy standards established which will double the distance our cars can go on a gallon of gas.  In line with those efforts, the Energy Security Trust will continue to create good jobs for the middle class as we take control of our energy future.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, March 16, 2013.

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Lemont, Illinois March 16, 2013

Hi, everybody.  As a nation, our top priority is growing our economy and creating good middle class jobs.  That’s why this week I’m speaking to you from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, because few areas hold as much promise as what they’re focused on right here – harnessing American energy.

You see, after years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future.  We produce more oil than we have in 15 years.  We import less oil than we have in 20 years.  We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We’re producing more natural gas than ever before – with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it.  We’ve supported the first new nuclear power plant since the 1970s.  And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years.

So we’re making real progress.  But over the past few weeks, we got a reminder that we need to do more.  We went through another spike in gas prices, just like last year, and the year before that.  It happens every year.  It’s a serious blow to your budget – like getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket.

Over the past four years, as part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, we’ve taken steps to soften that blow by making sure our cars use less gas.  We’ve put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.  Over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump.

But the only way we’re going to break this cycle of spiking gas prices for good is to shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good.  That’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal.

Here’s how it would work.  Much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together.  So I’m proposing that we take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit.  We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; developing cheaper batteries that go farther on a single charge; and devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy – like advanced biofuels and natural gas – so drivers can one day go coast-to-coast without using a drop of oil.

Now, this idea isn’t mine.  It’s actually built off a proposal put forward by a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals.  So let’s take their advice and free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas prices once and for all.

And in the meantime, let’s keep moving forward on an all-of-the-above energy strategy.  A strategy where we produce more oil and gas here at home, but also more biofuels and fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power and wind power.  A strategy where we put more people to work building cars, homes and businesses that waste less energy.  We can do this.  We’re Americans.  And when we commit ourselves to something, there’s no telling how far we’ll go.

Thanks and have a great weekend.

This article is a repost, credit: Office of the Press Secretary, President Obama (The White House) http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/16/weekly-address-time-create-energy-security-trust.