Environmental Energy Technologies Division Newsletter, Fall 2007,Vol.4, No. 4) Page: 3 of 28
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major impact on the various problems facing lithium batteries today. Even after a decade of research, no
magic combination of material has been found that has all the good attributes. So, research continues on
three classes of cathode materials, four classes of anodes, and three classes of electrolytes, all in the hope
of finding the right combination that will allow for commercialization."
Srinivasan and other researchers in EETD are studying batteries in many different ways, including
synthesizing new anodes, cathodes, and electrolytes; fabricating test batteries with advanced materials and
measuring their performance in the lab; understanding their behavior using advanced diagnostics,
including microprobe techniques; and by creating computer models of battery behavior.
This last is the approach taken by Srinivasan, who works in EETD's Electrochemical Technologies
Group. Typically the attempt to produce improved batteries involves trial and error, but Srinivasan is
using a more systematic approach to help both the materials scientists who develop new materials and the
engineers who are trying to optimize whole battery systems.
Srinivasan uses mathematical models of battery chemistry to evaluate the performance limitations of
particular Li-ion chemistries. He simulates the performance of a particular chemistry and compares it to
experiments performed in the lab to see how well his model results hold up. From the results he extracts
information about what factors in a particular material are limiting the performance of the battery. Material
developers and battery engineers can use the information to design a better battery that comes closer to
meeting the needs of real applications.
"We get the physics from simple lab-scale experiments," Srinivasan says, "and then we use equations to
describe this physics. If the model shows that the material looks promising for, say, a plug-in HEV, then
we can spend the time and effort to make large amounts of this material, to make prototype batteries with
it, and to see how they will perform when used in the real world." What particularly interests Srinivasan
about the work "is that I can connect the materials development scientists with those who are optimizing
the batteries, and I can make this connection quickly."
Acceleration and Range
In Srinivasan's presentations he uses a key image, which has become widely popular because of how
clearly it summarizes where the field lies right now. It's a map depicting the current performance of
batteries and other technologies, and where they have to go to be useful for electric vehicles.
A map developed by Venkat Srinivasan from product fact sheets compares the
specific energy (in watt-hours per kilogram) of vehicle power sources, an indicator of
their range, with their specific power (in watts per kilogram), an indicator of
acceleration. Dotted lines indicate acceleration and cruise times, while blue stars
show DOE's energy and power goals for electric vehicles and hybrids. Internal
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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/m1/3/: accessed April 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.