The need for extreme fast charging capabilities in the electric powered transportation industry has prompted the US Department of Energy (DOE) to allocate $19 million to new cost-shared research projects. The focus is to advance battery and vehicle electrification technologies to make widespread commercial utilization realistic. The three main industry challenges they look to overcome are cost of ownership, charge time, and range.
In order to compete with the efficient refueling methods and established infrastructure of traditional combustion systems, DOE aims to attain specific performance benchmarks for each of the three criteria. By 2028, they want to reduce 10-year battery pack costs to under $100 per kilowatt-hour, increase their range to over 300 miles, and be able to charge in under 15 minutes.
The University of Tennessee’s Sheng Dai submitted a proposal for his research on TiNb2O7 based lithium ion batteries and received a $720,000 grant to continue that work. Dai claims, “Commercial lithium ion batteries using graphite as an anode can easily result in lithium plating during extreme fast charging, leading to fast battery fading and safety issues. TiNb2O7 (TNO) has a high theoretical capacity of 387 mAh g-1 with an average operation voltage of 1.66 V vs. Li/Li+, which is far from the lithium plating voltage, therefore, the TNO-based lithium ion batteries are much safer than graphite based ones for transportation applications, particularly for extremely fast charging applications.” In this project, the University of Tennessee (UTK) will collaborate with Dr. Xiaoguang Sun and Jianlin Li at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) to develop TNO and nickel-rich lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) based lithium ion batteries for extreme fast charging applications.