IIT-Argonne Team Receives Award to Develop ‘Nanoelectrofuel’ Battery Tech

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. (Credit: 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. (Credit: Argonne National Laboratory)

Carlo Segre, Duchossois Leadership Professor of Physics at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), 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 “nanoelectrofuel” battery technology that may more than double the current range of electric vehicles (EV). This is one of 22 energy storage research projects that received funding from (ARPA-E).

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.

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.

The Illinois Insitutue of Technology will share $3.4 million to develop a prototype of their "nanoelectrofuel" flow battery. Funding for the prototype project comes from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agnecy-Energy. (Credit: Argonne National Laboratory)

The Illinois Insitutue of Technology will share $3.4 million to develop a prototype of their “nanoelectrofuel” flow battery. Funding for the prototype project comes from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agnecy-Energy. (Credit: Argonne National Laboratory)

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.

The above story is based on or reprinted from materials provided by Argonne National Laboratory.

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