STTR Phase I: Liquefied Gas Electrolytes for High Energy Density Energy Storage Devices

Period of Performance: 07/01/2017 - 06/30/2018

$225K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

South 8 Technologies, Inc.
3184 1/2 Adams Ave. Apt B
San Diego, CA 92116
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive, #0411
La Jolla, CA 92093
Institution POC

Abstract

This STTR Phase I project is focused on improving the energy density, safety and ultra-low temperature capability of battery devices. Conventional batteries fall short of these critical requirements for next-generation electric vehicle technologies, which are necessary to reduce emissions and the nation?s reliance on fossil fuel imports. Although the eventual goal of the proposed technology is to enter automotive markets, it may have an equally strong impact for applications in other areas requiring energy storage at low-temperatures. For example, multiple efforts aim to enable high-atmosphere telecommunications to further global connectivity to the internet, particularly in remote locations of the globe in third world countries whose standard of living could be enhanced with greater communication and education. Further, the proposed chemistry could also potentially be useful in electrochemical deposition of difficult to plate metals such as titanium or silicon for use in the aerospace, medical or high tech industries, areas which will ensure the U.S. remains internationally competitive while increasing job opportunity and tax revenue from emerging technologies. It is also a priority of this STTR to coordinate with the partner research institution to providing training and internship opportunities to graduate and undergraduate students from underrepresented communities in this research work to further improve our national industry by training the next generation workforce to better be prepared for industry and higher-education. This project aims to develop a novel electrolyte chemistry for next generation energy storage devices which has potential to address these three critical areas (energy density, safety, wide temperature operation). While conventional electrolyte chemistry commonly uses solvent solutions which are typically liquid at room temperature, this project will explore the use of solvent solutions which are gaseous at room temperature and liquefied under moderate pressures. Preliminary work on this novel electrolyte chemistry has shown high performance at ultra-low temperatures, enabling many high-atmosphere and aerospace applications without need for additional thermal management and engineering. In addition, a reversible battery shut-down mechanism at high temperatures, inherent in the electrolyte chemistry, allow for strong mitigation of thermal runaway for improved battery safety. Finally, high potential for a substantial increase in energy density with use of next-generation electrode materials has been shown to be possible. The focus of this project will be to develop these novel electrolytes and demonstrate superior performance in a full cell device with application to the automotive industry and low-temperature markets. The underlying fundamental chemistry with these new materials is a relatively new field and it is hoped these materials will lead to advances in next-generation energy storage devices and other technologies, leading to new industries, job growth and beyond.