Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®)
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SwRI to receive $1.2 million to develop
advanced anode materials for lithium-ion batteries
For immediate release
San Antonio – Sept. 1, 2010 – Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®)
has been selected by the Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory to receive an award of $1.2 million to develop advanced anode
materials for lithium-ion batteries. The award is one of several selected under LBNL's Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies (BATT) Program. The
BATT Program is the premier fundamental research program supported by the U.S.
Department of Energy's Office of Vehicle Technologies and managed by LBNL for
developing high-performance, rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles and
Institute Scientist Dr. Kwai Chan, Staff Scientist Dr. Michael Miller and
Research Engineer Dr. Wuwei Liang from SwRIs Materials Engineering Department
are the team for the project, "Synthesis and Characterization of Silicon
Clathrates for Anode Applications in Lithium-Ion Batteries." The project is
scheduled to begin in January 2011 and is expected to be completed by December
"The objective of this project is to investigate how silicon clathrates can be
used to improve the performance of lithium batteries," said Chan, who will serve
as project manager for the four-year effort. "The primary application for the
technology is electric, hybrid electric and plug-in hybrid electric
automobiles." SwRI has been addressing advanced battery technologies through its
internally funded research program Chan said.
Currently, most lithium-ion batteries have a 10-year life expectancy and a range
of 10 miles between charges. A goal of the DOE and stakeholders is to quadruple
the range and double the energy density of these batteries within the next four
years while extending the battery life to greater than 10 years.
Silicon clathrate is a form of silicon with a cage structure that researchers
believe can be used to store lithium at the battery anode. "The clathrate's
soccer-ball-like structure would trap the lithium ions in a compact space,"
Miller added, "thereby providing a higher energy density and longer battery
Project tasks include investigating new ways to make clathrates, fundamental
modeling of the anode material to better understand how it behaves, and
developing and evaluating a prototype battery cell.
"If successful, this program could be extended to look at new materials for the
cathode, thereby further increasing battery performance," Chan said.
For more information about advanced battery and materials research at SwRI,
visit mateng.swri.org, or contact Chan at (210) 522-2053 or
For more information, contact
Deborah S. Deffenbaugh, (210) 522-2046, Communications Department, Southwest
Research Institute, PO Drawer 28510, San Antonio, TX 78228-0510.