ARPA-E Awards IIT and Argonne team $3.4 M for Breakthrough Battery Technology

Duchossois Leadership Professor of Physics Carlo Segre has received a $3.4 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a breakthrough battery technology that may more than double the current range of electric vehicles (EV), increase safety, reduce costs and simplify recharging.

Segre and his collaborators John Katsoudas, also of IIT, and Elena Timofeeva, Dileep Singh and Michael Duoba of Argonne National Laboratory will develop a prototype for a rechargeable “nanoelectrofuel” flow battery that may extend the range of EVs to at least 500 miles and provide a straightforward and rapid method of refueling. Current EV ranges range 100 to 200 miles, with recharging taking up to eight hours.

Flow batteries, which store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container, are generally low in energy density and are not used for transportation applications. The IIT-Argonne nanoelectrofuel flow battery concept will use a high-energy density “liquid” with battery-active nanoparticles to dramatically increase energy density while ensuring stability and low-resistance flow within the battery.

“I am delighted by this award, not only because of the quality and importance of the proposed research but also as another example of the longstanding and effective collaboration between IIT and the world-class researchers and facilities at Argonne,” said Russell Betts, Dean of IIT’s College of Science.

Segre’s expertise is in the structure and properties of materials using synchrotron radiation techniques. He has a wide variety of ongoing research projects, including fuel-cell catalysts and battery materials. Segre is director of the Center for Synchrotron Radiation Research and Instrumentation at IIT and deputy director of the Materials Research Collaborative Access Team beamline at the Advanced Photon Source, located at Argonne.