We launched ICNQT with a bold vision: to create game-changing, next-generation battery technologies that will transform transportation and the electricity grid the way lithium-ion batteries transformed personal electronics.
This bold vision addresses pressing national needs to reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency, accelerate deployment of renewable solar and wind electricity on the grid, and modernize the grid with new operating concepts that strengthen its flexibility, reliability, and resilience.
Next-generation energy storage could meet these needs for transportation and the grid with a single dramatic innovation: batteries that deliver five times the energy density at one-fifth the cost. Such batteries would allow inexpensive electric cars to drive five times farther on a single charge, rivaling the 400-mile range of conventional gasoline cars, and they would make storing and releasing electricity on the grid just as cheap as generating it with natural gas turbines.
Next-generation energy storage has the potential to replace traditional, century-old fossil fuel technologies with newer, more sustainable and cleaner alternatives. The market implications are impressive: transportation and the grid account for nearly 70 percent of energy use, compared to 2 percent for personal electronics powered by today’s lithium-ion batteries. In energy terms, next-generation batteries could have at least 10 times the market reach of today’s batteries. In dollars and cents, channeling half the transportation and grid energy through storage would create a market 10 times larger than personal electronics powered by lithium-ion batteries, which currently stands at $15-$20 billion.
Our group focuses on the following research topics:
- Synthesis of functional nano-materials and their characterization
- Energy materials,
- Powders and films,
- Nanomaterials and nanotechnology,
- Ceramics and carbon materials,
- Adsorbents and foam materials,
- Synthetic methods and application.
- Development of innovative high energy density batteries for grid connection of renewable sources and green transport
- Mathematical modelling, including computational fluid dynamics, of batteries and related topics
- Green energy sources, green technologies,
- Environmental engineering (soil and water purification).
Having brought together a “dream team” of scientists, engineers, and manufacturers to develop transformative energy storage technologies, ICNQT intends to leave three legacies:
- a library of fundamental science of the materials and phenomena of energy storage at atomic and molecular levels,
- two prototypes, one for transportation and one for the grid, that when scaled to manufacturing are capable of meeting ICNQT’s aggressive performance and cost targets, and
- and a new paradigm for battery research and development that integrates discovery science, battery design, research prototyping, and manufacturing collaboration in a single highly interactive organization.
Our new paradigm integrates talent from organizations comprising more researchers – including students, postdocs, early career researchers, senior scientists, and engineers from national laboratories, universities, and industry. As ICNQT matures, it embraces new opportunities for strengthening and expanding the new paradigm. Continuous improvement of its structure and operating principles is fundamental to its success.
For the important second legacy, we have identified the most promising candidates for proof-of-principle battery prototypes that can be transitioned to manufacturing. These prototypes are now being tested in the laboratory.
As part of our strategy, we also continue to emphasize exploratory or “divergent” research on alternative approaches for prototypes. Experience with lithium ion and other battery concepts has shown that many excellent ideas fail, often because of competing side reactions that inevitably occur at electrochemical interfaces. ICNQT intentionally maintains a strategic portfolio of alternative approaches that we can quickly move into the mainstream.