Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

International partnership announces second round of transportation energy technology awards

An international collaboration between U-M and Fraunhofer has launched two more joint research teams to address the increasing global demand for more efficient and sustainable technologies for transportation.

Since April, the Alternative Energy Technologies for Transportation (AETT) program has awarded $2 million in seed grants to five projects. All proposals were peer-reviewed and judged on originality, scientific visibility and possible economic impact by Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and Fraunhofer, together with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Each project also was judged on its potential to secure external funding or commercialization at the end of the two-year project phase. Each team has scientists from both U-M and Fraunhofer.

“We are very proud that our two calls for proposals were answered by most excellent faculty, engineers, and researchers at both U-M and Fraunhofer,” says Anke Hellwig of Fraunhofer, AETT program co-director. “Their research plans demonstrate a high synergy between the two units and, therefore, reiterate our motivation to leverage this transatlantic initiative,”

Most recipients of the AETT seed grants are working on the key technological issue of future mobility and transportation: the storage of electric energy. State-of-the-art components need to be refined and further advanced before they can be integrated in serial production of electric vehicles. AETT researchers are tackling the charge/discharge efficiency, safety, and life cycle of such batteries, as well as the design of supercapacitors and redox flow batteries.

“This landmark partnership is on the road to moving crucial research discoveries from the laboratories to a vital industry in search of transformation towards sustainability,” says Dennis Assanis, director of the Energy Institute and AETT program co-director. “Not only is this international collaboration advancing transportation energy technology, it’s also building an exciting, close-knit scientific network.”

The two newest AETT seed grant awards are:

• High speed laser cutting of electrodes for lithium-ion batteries — Development of advanced high-speed remote cutting technology to enhance the reliability, safety, and life cycle of lithium-ion batteries. Jyoti Mazumder, mechanical engineering; Jens Tuebke, Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology

• Non-aqueous redox flow batteries — Design of non-aqueous redox flow batteries with significantly increased energy and power density and charge/discharge efficiency relative to state-of-the-art aqueous models. Charles Monroe, chemical engineering; Christian Doetsch, Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology

Awardees in the first round in April were:

• Integration of high surface area carbide/nitrides with 3D metal foams for high performance supercapacitors — Design of a high-performance supercapacitor prototype by integrating high-surface area carbide/nitrides with 3-D metal foams.

• 3-D dynamic diagnostics of combustion processes — Three-dimensional dynamic diagnostics of combustion processes with the objective to enable more fuel-efficient internal combustion engine concepts.

• Laser surface modification for production of high performance lithium-ion batteries — Novel electrode materials for the improved charge capabilities and life cycle of lithium-ion batteries by laser-surface modification.

The Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute develops, coordinates and promotes multidisciplinary energy research and education at the U-M. Fraunhofer promotes and undertakes applied research in an international context, of direct utility to private and public enterprise.