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Nanostructured Composite Foil Anodes for High-Energy Electric Vehicle Cells

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0020850
Agency Tracking Number: 252289
Amount: $200,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: 12a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002146
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-06-29
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-06-28
Small Business Information
509 Nelray Boulevard Unit A
Austin, TX 78751-1126
United States
DUNS: 117366410
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Brian Heligman
 (240) 750-3556
Business Contact
 Brian Heligman
Phone: (240) 750-3556
Research Institution
 University of Texas at Austin
 Elena Mota
509 Nelray Boulevard Unit A
Austin, TX 78751-1126
United States

 (512) 471-6424
 Nonprofit College or University

The lithium-ion battery is one of the most centrally important technologies for the 21st century. However, transformative change to battery technology is required to meet the demanding performance required for massive adoption of electric vehicles. Vulcan Alloys nanocomposite foil (NCF) anode technology dramatically simplifies electrode manufacturing, increases battery energy density by 20-40%, and enables rapid charging at 5C (> 10 mA cm-2), providing the most significant material-level improvement to battery technology in more than a decade. NCF technology represents a highly practical yet previously unexplored approach to electrode design. The critical insight behind the framework stems from approaching electrode design with a metallurgical, rather than chemical, perspective. The largest technical risks were mitigated throughout years of academic development, culminating in experimental validation of the framework’s promise in a medium-scale prototype. Further development of this technology for the commercial sector would revolutionize battery chemistry at a critical juncture in the industry’s development. During Phase 1, Vulcan Alloys, Inc. will manufacture high performance NCF anodes with varying compositions. These materials will be transported to the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin), where the material will be packaged into 3 mAh coin cells and 225 mAh pouch cells. Electrochemical data obtained from the cycling of these batteries will be used to design new NCF materials with improved cycling stability. By coupling that effort with an optimization of NCF manufacturing, the proposed work will directly facilitate NCF’s introduction to the marketplace. Introduction of NCF anodes to the commercial marketplace would confer significant public benefits. The technology would reduce the cost and increase the range of electric vehicles, accelerating their adoption by the public. The high energy density NCF-batteries developed in this work can also enable new consumer electronic devices with improved performance and support the increasing penetration of renewables into our modern grid. Given the NCF framework is highly scalable and does not rely upon the traditional electrode manufacturing infrastructure, production facilities could be built domestically, providing the United States with an opportunity to gain control of a strategically important energy resource.

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

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