Project Announcement: Exploration of Technologies to Improve Battery Safety of Electric Vehicles

The US Department of Defense is partnering with industry and academia on an initiative to investigate several different approaches to improve the safety of military and commercial EVs at cell and pack level by electrode design that can improve safe operation at cell level and develop materials that can compartmentalize and contain fire in a thermal runaway event.

At the cell level, thermal safety is of increasingly high importance with high-energy density Li-ion batteries. In the event of battery cell over-charge, the cell temperature rises, triggering cell malfunction and potentially thermal runaway. A thermal protection mechanism at cell level will reduce the risk of thermal runaway and improve the safety operation. Current collector engineering battery cell technology represents a viable approach to stop overcharge/overheat directly at the source of heat generation. The project team will research and develop a coating solution for current collectors that is conductive under normal operation but becomes resistive and stops the operation of individual cells in the event of over-charging or overheat. The goal of this research is to develop a coating system that may include Electrodeposition (ecoat) to provide both corrosion protection and thermal/flame resistance to improve safety.

There is a need to investigate several types of fire protection solutions including mica sheets, aerogel pads and fire blankets. These materials have demonstrated the ability to aid in fire containment for several EV pack designs for some minutes. However, the application of these solutions to the battery components often requires significant manual labor, such as part tailoring and fixing or gluing, making them less suitable for mass-scale automated application. In addition, the heavy weight, high thicknesses, as well as rigidity of these part materials creates additional hurdles for battery pack design, which are mostly of complex shapes with limited available space. Coating solutions can provide fire protection performance combined with low film thickness, good thermal insulation properties, conformality to any complex shapes and fitness-for-automation in mass production.

If you feel your organization has the technical capabilities and would like to be considered for this project, please complete the form below and upload your organization’s technical capabilities statement.

Interested Submissions Due by 8/22/2023.

We encourage participation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), including Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs).