Berkeley Lab

Dr. Kristin Persson receives Director’s Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement

Dr. Kristin Persson of EETD has been the architect and force behind the Materials Project at Berkeley Lab. The project was recognized by the White House and resulted in $11 million for a new BES Center. Using this concept, a material can be designed on a computer before synthesis occurs, and using an extensive database, materials properties can be examined to establish trends and correlations that can lead to new discoveries. Kristin has forged multiple collaborations involving several academic, government institutions and industry. Using computation to narrow down the phase space has the potential to significantly increase the speed of innovation. This concept is at the forefront of research and has the potential to revolutionize materials discovery. We thank Kristin for being instrumental in this vital endeavor and give her this Director’s Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers win 2013 R&D 100 Awards in the fields of Lithium-ion Batteries and Fuel Cells

A team led by Gao Liu developed a conductive polymer binder that enables the use of silicon anodes in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Replacing commercial graphite anodes, silicon anodes have the potential to boost the energy capacity of lithium-ion batteries by 30% but are plagued by cyclability issues linked to the volume expansion and contraction upon charge and discharge of the battery. The newly developed family of conductive binders alleviates this problem and dramatic improvements in cycling tests has been demonstrated in the laboratory.  Liu worked with Berkeley Lab scientists Wanli Yang, Lin-Wang Wang, Vincent Battaglia and postdoctoral fellows Sang-Jae Park, Mingyan Wu, and Shidi Xun.

Point Source Power and Berkeley Lab won an R&D 100 Award for the company’s Voto product. The innovative device is based on a solid oxide fuel cell that is powered by burning charcoal, wood or other types of biomass – the types of fuel that many in the developing world use for cooking. The fuel cell sits in the fire and is attached to circuitry in the handle that is charged as fuel is burned. The handle, which contains an LED bulb, can be detached and used for lighting or to charge a phone. Craig Jacobson and Mike Tucker, respectively CEO and CTO as well as co-founders of Point Source Power co-invented the fuel cell while working at the Berkeley Lab. Working with Lutgard DeJonghe and Steve Visco, their breakthrough was in finding a way to replace most ceramics in the fuel cell with stainless steel, a far cheaper and durable material.

For further information, please contact:

–          Gao Liu: gliu@lbl.gov (for the lithium-ion batteries award)

–          Mike Tucker: mctucker@lbl.gov (for the solid oxide fuel cell award)

The first-of-its-kind MSE degree program in Battery Technologies

 

Alert your colleagues and coworkers to be among the first to graduate from Battery University, a partnership between CalCharge and San Jose State University, located in the heart of the Silicon Valley*.

Executive-style cohort classes start very soon.  Students are able to take single courses of interest as well as pursue the full MSE degree program.

Enrollment is now open for the first two courses in the program:

  • Aug 21 – Oct 9 / Renewable Energy Systems: An introduction to renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, waves and tidal energy.
  • Oct 16 – Dec 11 / Battery Technology I: A broad overview of the various battery technologies including Li-ion, flow, lead acid, and NiMH batteries. Students will learn about the basics of battery performance and operation.

Complete schedule found here.

Apply for prequalification online today

http://engrextendedstudies.sjsu.edu/programs/single_degree/bat/.

Questions always welcome: Program Specialist, Katy Stangel (katy.stangel@sjsu.edu)

BESTAR Staff win RD100 Awards

Gao Liu  and Mike Tucker from EETD win R& D 100 Awards

(Stories from the Berkeley Lab Newscenter)

Better Batteries with a Conducting Polymer Binder

conducting polymer binderIn an effort to make smaller, lighter, and cheaper batteries, a team led by Berkeley Lab scientist Gao Liu focused on improving the negative electrode, or anode. Their invention, the Conducting Polymer Binder, is a new material for use in rechargeable batteries. It can boost power storage capacity by 30 percent, a dramatic improvement in a field marked by little progress for more than a decade. The binder is literally a kind of flexible plastic glue that holds electrode materials together while facilitating the shuttling of electrons and positively charged lithium ions.

The new binder is unusually attractive for battery designers: it is strong, elastic, porous, and highly conductive. The elastic material stretches during the expansion of silicon particles as the battery charges, and contracts during discharge — giving silicon anodes the flexibility to “breathe.” The team used a soft X-ray beamline at the Advanced Light Source to analyze materials. Liu worked with Berkeley Lab scientists Wanli Yang, Lin-Wang Wang, and Vincent Battaglia and postdoctoral fellows Sang-Jae Park, Mingyan Wu, and Shidi Xun.

Cheap, Rugged Fuel Cells Can Provide Electricity Where None Exists

Point Source Power and Berkeley Lab won an R&D 100 award for the company’s Voto product. The innovative device is based on a solid oxide fuel cell that is powered by burning charcoal, wood or other types of biomass—even cow dung—the types of fuel that many in the developing world use for cooking. The fuel cell sits in the fire and is attached to circuitry in a handle that is charged as the fuel cell heats up to temperatures of 700 to 800 degrees Celsius. The handle, which contains an LED bulb, can then be detached and used for lighting or to charge a phone.

kibera_shoot-17Craig Jacobson, CEO and co-founder of Point Source Power, based in Alameda, California, co-invented the fuel cell in his 13 years as a materials scientist at Berkeley Lab. Working with Steve Visco, Mike Tucker and Lutgard DeJonghe, all still affiliated with the Lab, their breakthrough was in finding a way to replace most of the ceramics in the fuel cell with stainless steel, a far cheaper and more durable material.

The Materials Project of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and MIT highlighted at the White House

On June 24, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy highlighted the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI), a public-private endeavor launched by the President which aims to cut in half the time it takes to develop novel materials that can fuel advanced manufacturing and bolster the 21st century American economy.  The Materials Project – an open-access Google-like data base for materials research — was co-founded by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Project was recently awarded one of the DOE-funded MGI Centers to include several new partner institutions and broaden its scope.

The Materials Project relies on the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at the Berkeley Lab to perform high-throughput calculations and determine state-of-the-art electronic structures, as well as use novel data-mining algorithms to predict surface, defect, electronic and finite temperature properties of tens of thousands of inorganic compounds.

The project is unique in its ambition to computationally determine the properties of all known inorganic compounds, deliver the data to the Materials community, and to enable improved materials and design. The Materials Project currently features over 30,000 materials in its data base and now has over 4,000 users from industry, government and academia. What used to require days or weeks of scouring journal articles or performing custom calculations can now be achieved at the click of a mouse.

For more information:

www.materialsproject.org

or contact Dr. Kristin Persson at kapersson@lbl.gov