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Safe Battery Systems for Extreme Fast Charging (SaFC)

Consortium for Safe Battery Systems for Extreme Fast Charging ("SaFC")
Launched May, 2021

Stanford University is forming an academic-industrial Consortium for Safe Battery Systems for Extreme Fast Charging (SaFC) to meet the needs of the rapidly growing consumer electronics, electric vehicle and grid storage markets. The focus of SaFC is on the battery cells and systems and collaborates with Bits and Watts Initiative of Precourt Institute for Energy on charger and charging infrastructure.
The need for a consortium is rooted in the multidisciplines crossing multiple length scales  required to tackle this grand challenge in the existing and emerging battery cell chemistries: (1) Extreme fast charging in the existing battery cells with graphite anodes and lithium metal oxide cathodes (2) Extreme fast charging in emerging high energy chemistries (Si and Li metal anodes, Sulfur cathodes) and solid state batteries (3) Data-driven approach to design the protocols of extreme fast charging with excellent safety and battery life. (4) Sensing, thermal management and integration of battery cells into packs and systems. The consortium will involve Stanford faculty members working across these areas and industry partners engaged across materials, cells, packs and systems.
The consortium will consist of the core faculty, associated students and researchers, and StorageX industry members who commit to contribute one or more tokens per year to the consortium pool for 3 years.  The industry members will be referred to as the consortium industry members.
SaFC consortium industry member includes Shell, Applied Materials and Murata
Funds from the pool will be used to support one or more of the following: consortium seed projects, consortium research projects and associated researchers and students, consortium management, and consortium student internships

3 Funded Projects in 2021

1. Engineering ion solvation and charging rate near the electrolyte-electrode interface
PI: Jian Qin, Chemical Engineering, Qin Group

The deposition rate of lithium ions and cycling stability during fast charging are tightly linked to the solvation structure of lithium ions in bulk electrolytes and near electrolyte-electrode interface. This project will combine theory and simulation to investigate the spatial variation of the dielectric screening, the ion solvation structure near the interface, and the solvent reorganization free energy. The goal is to identify the molecular properties, such as charge distribution and polarizability, that impact the heterogeneous features near electrode.

2. Prevention of Mechanical Failure in Battery Electrodes During Fast Charging

PI: Wendy Gu, Mechanical Engineering, Gu Lab

The development of fast charging Li-ion batteries (<10 minutes at a charging station) will greatly accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by consumers. One major technical hurdle is the mechanical degradation of battery electrodes during cycling, which leads to reduced charging capacity and battery life. This project will use nano-mechanical measurements to directly measuring strength, deformation and failure of individual particles at high strain rates and under cyclic loading. Mechanical failure mechanisms will be correlated to cycle life, power output, capacity fade and microstructural changes during battery testing.

3. Materials search for fast charging of solid state batteries

PI: Evan Reed. Co-PI: Brandi Ransom, Eder Lomeli, Materials Science and Engineering, Reed Group

We seek to identify new combinations of solid electrolyte, anode and cathode that mitigate common barriers to fast charging, including interfacial kinetics and mechanical effects.  We will identify the most promising candidates by combing data science methods with chemical, structural, and electronic descriptors of materials that contribute to these properties.   We seek to identify combinations with minimal or no interfacial chemistry, and suitable coatings that can mitigate interfacial chemistry and expand the electrochemical stability window of commonly studied solid electrolytes.