The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or STTR Phase I project is to develop and commercialize a technology to mitigate safety concerns associated with lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technologies in electric vehicle, transportation, and energy storage applications. Li-ion battery technology is one of the most transformative innovations in the past decade and continues to provide a platform for future technology development. The potential market size for Li-ion battery technology is substantial. Fueled by growth in energy storage and electric vehicle industries the Li-ion battery market is expected to grow to over US$100 billion by 2025. Adoption of Li-ion battery technology in the energy storage market being impeding by safety concerns, namely fire and explosion hazards. The technology to be developed in this Phase I project has the potential to be a low-cost, passive solution to mitigate these hazards, and alleviate these concerns. The technology has potential to have high market penetration in energy storage and transportation industries, and will enable adoption of transformative technologies that pushes us toward a greener and more sustainable energy future.

This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will explore and develop technology for passive mitigation of Li-ion battery fire and explosion hazards. For large multi-cell battery systems in energy storage, vehicle applications and among others, these hazards can damage nearby infrastructure and cause injury or death. Li-ion batteries can undergo a self-heating failure called thermal runaway that releases flammable gases. Thermal runaway poses significant challenges for available fire and explosion suppression systems because the gas release can continue unabated despite suppression of the incipient fire. Current mitigation approaches treat the consequences of the fire and do not address the root cause of the hazard, namely the production of flammable gases. The approach here is to develop technology to mitigate the root cause of the hazard and reduce the flammability of the battery gases. There is a clear need to increase the scientific understanding of passive mitigation mechanisms of hazardous and flammable gases in the thermal runaway environment. The overall objective of this project is to further the scientific understanding of these passive mitigation techniques and demonstrating proof-of-concept performance for Li-ion battery applications.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships (IIP)
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Anna Brady-Estevez
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Altect, Inc.
United States
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