Electrochemical Materials

Safe energy and power dense generation and storage is crucial to providing operational endurance to warfighters, systems and platforms. The Office of Naval Research Electrochemical Materials Program is focused on developing a fundamental understanding of charge (electron and ion) storage, transport and transfer mechanisms, and applying that knowledge to inform the development of materials, materials architectures and devices that address Navy and Marine Corps application power and energy needs.

Many other agencies and the commercial sector have needs and investments in electrochemical power and energy. The Navy seeks to leverage those investments to the greatest extent possible. Naval basic research in this area emphasizes fundamental scientific approaches that will provide the enabling science to accelerate materials, device and systems development with improved safety and performance — particularly for Navy-unique challenges — and that are distinct from other agency investments.

Research Concentration Areas

  • Enhanced safety and capability fuel cells, batteries and capacitors are required to improve reliability, efficiency and resiliency in stand-alone and hybrid systems configurations
  • New experimental tools that enable in operando and in situ quantitative interrogation of complex electrochemical systems are needed to provide new knowledge about reaction mechanisms and the effects of kinetics and structure
  • New validated physics-based multi-scale modeling of coupled reaction mechanisms that span atomistic to cell and system design levels [Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME)] are needed to understand the impact of materials and design choices on device performance and safety, and to accelerate the incorporation of new materials and new materials approaches into devices and systems
  • Two areas of enduring importance for the Navy are lithium-ion battery safety and fuel cells capable of operating on current and future logistics fuels
    • Fundamental mechanistic understanding of lithium-ion battery catastrophic failure is needed to move beyond current engineering approaches that do not adequately avoid or mitigate damage to platforms and personnel, particularly for large battery systems
    • Fundamental mechanistic understanding of heavy hydrocarbon fuel reaction processes in fuel cells and fuel reformers is needed to enable Navy adoption of emerging fuel cell technologies

Research Challenges and Opportunities

Priority research focus areas are listed below:

  • Development and validation of new in operando and in situ probes for understanding the origin and evolution of catastrophic failure in lithium-ion batteries
  • Multi-scale modeling and simulation that spans atomistic to cell and system level safety and performance behavior in lithium-ion batteries
  • Development and validation of new in operando and in situ probes for determining reaction mechanisms in high temperature electrochemical systems, such as solid oxide fuel cells and solid oxide electrolysis cells
  • Approaches that overcome the challenges to fabricating three-dimensional power source architectures

Type of Funding Available

  • Basic Research

Program Contact Information

Name: Dr. Michele Anderson

Title: Program Officer

Department: Code 332

Email for Questions: michele.anderson1@navy.mil

Program Funding

Submit white papers, QUAD charts and full proposals for contracts to this email address: ONR Code 33 Research Submissions

Follow instructions within BAA for submission of grant proposals to grants.gov website.

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