High Energy Density Energy Storage for Automotive Applications

Project Lead: Raman Yousif, NRCan - Ottawa
Lead Proponent:  University of Waterloo
Location:  Waterloo, ON
ecoEII Contribution:  $ 1,870,000
Project Total:  $ 2,675,000
Strategic Area:  Transportation


The consumer adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles is largely reliant on the development of advanced energy storage batteries. The lithium-ion battery packs used in today’s electric vehicles are limited by driving range and cost. The projected needs for batteries that exceed those limitations will require more advanced battery chemistries.  This project is focused on the electrochemical reactions that provide the basis for lithium-air, sodium-air, lithium-sulphur, and magnesium-sulphur batteries. These chemistries provide very high energy densities that are multiples greater than lithium-ion based cells, which can translate into electric driving ranges that approach 500 kilometers (km) per charge.

Project Objectives:

The objective of this project is to develop new, high energy density storage materials for high energy density storage batteries and incorporate them into prototype electrochemical cells. The intended long-term outcomes of the project (5-10 years) will include development of prototype sulphur (Mg-S and Li-S) batteries capable of energy storage densities up to 600 Watt-hours/kilogram (Wh/kg) with power of at least 350 Watts/kilogram (W/kg). For Li-O2 batteries, the major final development milestone will aim at energy storage densities up to 1000 Wh/kg. For Na-O2 cells, the target is to provide proof-of-concept of a very low cost cell that functions with stable cycling at an energy density of about 300 Wh/kg.

Benefits to Canada:

Specifically, the benefits to Canada as a result of this Project include:

  • the generation of know-how in electrochemical materials science in Canada
  • the generation of Canadian-owned intellectual property (IP) foundation for next-generation batteries
  • providing a jump-start for energy storage ventures in Canada
  • the creation of highly qualified personnel that can jump start companies, and staff companies in Canada
  • establishing a major centre of energy storage research in Canada

Project Status:

In the first year of this project a focus on the design of Na-O2 cells resolved issues with the reproducibility of results through the inclusion of an electrolyte distillation step, and a modified cell design to allow for O2 purging. A 3-electrode cell configuration was also adopted to observe simultaneous reactions at both the anode and cathode of the cell. Novel metallic mesoporous materials were identified for inclusion in cathodes of lithium-sulfur cells, and various synthetic routes for targeted compounds were attempted. Nano-scale particulates will be targeted in the future works of this project.

Project Partners:

Hanyang University, Korea
Hydro-Québec, Canada