SBIR Phase I: High Power and Energy Density VN-based Asymmetric Supercapacitors
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will demonstrate the technical feasibility of using proprietary low-cost, nanostructured vanadium nitride (VN) based electrodes and an asymmetric cell architecture with aqueous electrolytes to manufacture high energy density supercapacitors. Currently available commercial products deliver 3-6 Wh/kg with power densities of 700 W/kg at a cost of ~$0.10 per Farad. The cost must be decreased by at least a factor of two for broader market acceptance, and the energy density improved to reduce the size of the supercapacitor. Successful completion of the proposed SBIR program will lead to next generation supercapacitors with energy densities that approach 15 Wh/kg, exceeding the current state of the art by a factor of 3, and costs that are as much as 10 times lower than those for currently available commercial devices. The superior performance and cost are derived from the use of inexpensive, base metal nitrides and oxides tailored to give high specific capacitance, aqueous electrolytes that enable fast, efficient high power cycling, and an asymmetric cell design that maximizes the operating potential window. This combination of performance and cost will enable significant expansion in the use of supercapacitors for a number of important applications. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project lies the improvements in energy density and reductions in cost. These advances will enable the use of supercapacitors for power management solutions for a number of energy storage systems. Commercial applications could include use in hybrid electric vehicles for load-leveling during start-up, acceleration and regenerative braking, memory back-up in mobile phones, and uninterruptible power supplies. Transportation and smart grid applications represent large markets with>30% annual growth each. The automotive supercapacitor market totaled $55M in 2009 and could grow to $243M by 2015 fueled by the demand for hybrid electric vehicles. The smart grid market for supercapacitors is forecasted to $3.6B in 2015 driven by peak-load management and regenerative braking for light rails. Devices developed during this SBIR program could support a transition from electricity produced from fossil fuels to carbon neutral electricity thus reducing our nation's production of greenhouse gases and dependence on foreign energy sources. Federal agencies including the Department of Defense will also benefit, in particular, for applications such as extended range vehicles, exoskeleton systems and electromagnetic armors. Finally, this project will give students at the University of Michigan an opportunity to participate in a commercialization effort.
Small Business Information at Submission:
17445 Cameron Drive Northville, MI 48168-3253
Number of Employees: