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August 29, 2012
Dr. Kalra Awarded NSF Research Grant

Professor Kalra

Dr. Vibha Kalra has been awarded a research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study electrodes for lithium-air batteries. The award is for $362,457 for a period of three years starting Sept. 1, 2012.


More about the project: Lithium-ion batteries today have the highest energy storage capacity of the rechargeable battery systems and have gone on to commercial success for powering of portable electronic devices, yet their energy (150 Wh/kg) and power (1000 W/kg) densities are insufficient for powering electric electric vehicles. This project will investigate a novel battery chemistry, namely, Lithium-air, which can exhibit a theoretical energy density of almost 2 orders of magnitude higher than state of the art lithium-ion batteries. In particular, this work will study process-structure-property correlation in novel nanostructured air cathodes to allow enhanced transport of all reactants (oxygen, Li+ ions, and electrons) to the active catalyst surfaces and to provide enough spaces for incorporation of solid lithium oxide products during battery discharge. If successful, this project will facilitate the development of batteries for all-electric vehicles with driving ranges comparable to those of gasoline. The fundamental knowledge gained through this work on materials processing, structure and electrode design will also be beneficial for supercapacitors and other battery chemistries.

 
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