Environmental Energy Technologies Division Newsletter, Fall 2007,Vol.4, No. 4) Page: 2 of 28
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LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY
- NEWS L
Batteries of the Future I
Modeling Lithium-ion Battery Behavior
The BATT Program (Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies) is a $6 million
DOE program that aims to develop the next-generation batteries for use in electric,
hybrid-electric, and plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles. Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy
Technologies Division (EETD) assists the U.S. Department of Energy in managing research
conducted under this program, which takes place not only at Berkeley Lab, but other national
labs, universities, and private companies.
The next generation of batteries in your car is coming from laboratories-and from computer models.
Advanced battery development is no longer just a question of trial and error engineering; scientists
increasingly use computer models to design the best possible battery.
Batteries based on lithium are considered by many experts to be the most promising, in part because of
their high cell voltage-as much as 3.7 volts, as compared to 2.0 volts for a lead-acid battery or 1.2 volts
for a nickel metal hydride cell. This high voltage translates directly into higher energy, which has been key
to commercializing lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries for cellphone and laptop applications.
And lithium batteries, says Venkat Srinivasan, a staff scientist in Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory's Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD), "will also allow for significant
improvements in the presently available hybrid-electric vehicles, HEVs. In addition, it is hoped that
lithium batteries will pave the way for the development of plug-in HEVs and the electric vehicles of the
For lithium batteries to become widespread in vehicular applications, however, their performance and life
need to improve, their safety must be enhanced, and their costs need to decline. "While the HEV market
will be the low-hanging fruit, with plug-in HEVs expected within the next decade, pure electric vehicles
will be a major challenge," Srinivasan says. Even fuel-cell-powered vehicles will need high-performance
batteries, because only batteries can provide the necessary acceleration. Fuel cells can't ramp power up and
down fast enough for rapid acceleration.
"The mechanism of charge/discharge in lithium cells involves shuttling the lithium between an anode and
a cathode," explains Srinivasan. "The choice of materials for the anode, cathode, and electrolyte has a
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Chen, Allan (Editor). Environmental Energy Technologies Division Newsletter, Fall 2007,Vol.4, No. 4), periodical, December 14, 2007; Berkeley, California. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc901682/m1/2/: accessed April 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.