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OPERA: Optimizing a potassium-ion electrolyte for revolutionary automotive batteries

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: ARPA-E
Contract: DE-AR0001733
Agency Tracking Number: 2761-1557
Amount: $295,524.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 1
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-12
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2026-07-12
Small Business Information
2265 E Foothill Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91107
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Kevin Hurlbutt
 (818) 497-1821
Business Contact
 Kevin Hurlbutt
Phone: (818) 497-1821
Research Institution

We propose to develop and commercialize a potassium-ion battery for use in electric vehicles (EVs). The fundamental properties of potassium transport in organic electrolytes allow for fast charging from 0 to 80% capacity in less than 5 minutes. The battery will pair a stable, open-framework cathode based on a Prussian blue analog (PBA) with a conventional graphite anode for a high-performance battery with a specific energy of 200 W h kg at less than 50 USD kW h. The superior transport properties of potassium ions will also give the battery enhanced performance at low temperatures. Relative to comparable technologies, lithium iron phosphate (LFP) and sodium-ion batteries, this potassium-ion cell will have higher energy, faster charging, and lower cost. Furthermore, it will eliminate rare and expensive lithium, cobalt, nickel, and copper. With potassium-ion batteries, cars will charge faster and cost less. The raw materials for EV batteries will be more geographically distributed, geopolitically secure, and ethically sourced. Our battery’s architecture will be similar to incumbent lithium-ion batteries’, so we expect to leverage extant manufacturing capabilities and move quickly to market after electrolyte development. Electrolyte optimization is a significant technical challenge, but the funding and success of this project will result in a fast-charging, high-energy, low-cost potassium-ion battery for EVs with improved low-temperature performance and a more secure raw-materials supply chain.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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