PARC has signed a contract with the US Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to create a fiber optic monitoring system for commercial batteries. Based on the contract,
Battery innovations from PARC will significantly improve performance and help reduce costs of next-generation energy storage technologies
ARPA-E will award $4M to the company under the Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) program. PARC will coordinate with LG Chem Power to work on this project. The information provided by the developed fiber optic monitoring system by studying the internal conditions of batteries will enable to enhance the performance of these batteries in commercial applications, for example, in electric vehicles (EV).
The fund provided by ARPA-E will be used to develop and demonstrate a complete battery sensor prototype in a cost-effective manner, which will include intelligent algorithms to control battery operations, an optical read-out unit for measuring signals, and hair-thin optical fibers integrated into battery packs.
Energy Technology Program Manager with PARC, Rob McHenry, said that the main reason for the high cost of EV batteries is the traditional design which does not allow monitoring of internal conditions of the batteries. The internal conditions are determined only based on the external properties of voltage and current. He said that the fiber optic monitoring system developed by his company will effectively monitor the batteries’ internal conditions, and thereby reduce the cost, weight and size of the batteries, while improving their reliability and safety features.
ARPA-E’s Program Director, Ilan Gur, said that if this project under the AMPED program becomes successful, it will enhance the longevity, performance and safety features of commercial battery systems. He also said that this success will help to improve the economic, security and safety efficiency of their country’s electric grid, while reducing their dependence on imported fuels.