DOE To Provide Nearly 20 Million For Development Of Advanced Batteries For PHEVs

October 01, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it will invest nearly $20 million in plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) research. Five projects have been selected for negotiation of awards under DOE’s collaboration with the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) for $17.2 million in DOE funding for PHEV battery development projects and; DOE will provide nearly $2 million to the University of Michigan to spearhead a study exploring the future of PHEVs.

The DOE states that the funding will help advance President Bush’s "Twenty in Ten Plan", which aims to displace 20% of gasoline usage by 2017 through greater use of clean, renewable fuels and increased vehicle efficiency. PHEVs have the potential to displace a large amount of gasoline by delivering up to 40 miles of electric range without recharging – a distance that would include most daily round-trip commutes.

The five projects selected for negotiation of awards of up to $17.2 million from DOE aim to address critical barriers to the commercialization of PHEVs, specifically battery cost and battery life. Combined with cost-share from the USABC, these projects will allow up to $38 million in battery research and development. DOE funding is subject to negotiation of final contract terms and Congressional appropriations. Projects are expected to begin this year and continue through 2009; funding will come from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. USABC will negotiate final contract terms with five lithium ion battery developers.

Companies selected for negotiation of awards include: 3M – awarded up to $1.14 million to screen nickel/manganese/cobalt (NMC) cathode materials through building and testing of small-sized cells; A123Systems – awarded up to $6.25 million for a project to develop batteries based on nanophase iron-phosphate chemistry for 10- and 40-mile range PHEVs; Compact Power Inc. – awarded up to $4.45 million to develop batteries for 10-mile range PHEVs using high energy and high power Manganese-spinel; EnerDel, Inc. – awarded up to $1.25 million to develop cells for 10- and 40-mile range PHEVs using nano-phase lithium titanate coupled with a high voltage Nickel-Manganese cathode material; and Johnson Controls – Saft Advanced Power Solutions – awarded up to $4.1 million to develop batteries using a nickelate/layered chemistry for 10- and 40-mile range PHEVs.

The University of Michigan’s Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute (MMPEI) will receive nearly $2 million from DOE to coordinate efforts among DOE and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and DTE Energy to conduct a two-year study on PHEVs. Research for this study will take place over the next two years, and a preliminary report is expected to be released in January of 2008, at the Detroit Auto Show.