Battery Innovations from JCESR

The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research recently released updates on their work to revolutionize battery technology. Here is a quick summary those developments.

Here are the latest battery innovations and updates from JCESR:

A New Membrane for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries:

Battery nerds (myself included) go on and on about anodes and cathodes.  The anode is where electrons are stored and then when discharging those electrons flow to the cathode.  So they are pretty important parts of batteries.  However the membrane that separates the two is probably just as important.  Without the membrane to separate the anode and cathode, a battery would never be able to store charge as it would immediately cross over.  As new anode and cathode materials are being used to create more energy dense batteries, new membranes must be created that are still effective with the new chemistries.

JCESR is developing a new membrane using polymers called a “polymer of intrinsic microporosity” or PIM.  Polymers are great materials to work with because they are very pliable and strong (think plastic).  PIMs have the added benefit of being able to let through enough of the electrolyte for the battery to work without allowing the anode to contaminate the cathode or vice versa.

These new membranes would pave the way for Li-S batteries which are less expensive and more energy dense than Li-ion batteries by eliminating current membrane issues.


Building Batteries through Computer Models

One of the most difficult issues in research and development of new technologies is that it can be very difficult to predict which technologies are going to be most promising.  It therefore becomes difficult to decide where to best put most of the research efforts as well as funding.  To address these challenges JCESR is using advanced modeling techniques to predict which battery technologies are going to be the most worthwhile.

They are using what is called “techno-economic” (TE) modeling.  This helps JCESR explore, in one model, both the technological value of some research paths as well as the costs that they will incur.

According to JCESR Director George Crabtree, “The beyond lithium-ion space is vast, rich and largely unexplored, with 50-100 distinct battery candidates that might deliver transformative performance and cost. Techno-economic modeling is an essential component in JCESR’s management strategy for directing the research to the most promising candidates and understanding the main challenges and barriers.”


Thats it for now, but past updates can be seen here and here


Advanced battery technology offers a dynamic option as an innovative, multi-scale solution that promotes the expansion of clean energy across industries. As a JCESR partner organization, Clean Energy Trust leverages its position in the ecosystem to engage strategic stakeholders and seed pathways for commercialization of breakthrough battery innovations.


By Alex Foucault | November 5, 2015