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Energy Storage

It is essential to store energy generated during periods of low demand and use it during periods of high demand. Excess energy generated during periods of low demand can be used to energize an energy storage device. Energy grids across the world are struggling to cope with a surge in demand for electricity and increasingly volatile supply from renewable power sources. Among other storage methods and technologies, chemical energy storage devices (batteries, supercapacitors etc.) remain the leading electrical energy storage technologies today. However, current electrochemical storage technology cannot meet the required demand for transportation and commercial residential applications. Fundamental basic science research is necessary to understand the underlying principles in each related process in the electrochemical storage systems in order to address future energy storage requirements.

The goal for electrochemical storage technology in the transport sector is to develop the technologies to reduce battery costs from their current $500-600/kWh to $125/kWh. Current battery technology is far from its theoretical energy density limit. In the near-term, with rapid advances in lithium-ion technology, there is an opportunity to improve the battery pack energy density from 100 Wh/kg to 250 Wh/kg through the use of new high-capacity cathodes, higher voltage electrolytes, and the use of high capacity silicon or tin-based nanostructured anodes. In the longer term, “beyond Li-ion” battery chemistries, such as lithium-sulfur, magnesium-ion, zinc-air, and lithium-air, offer the possibility of energy densities that are significantly greater than current lithium-ion batteries as well as the potential for greatly reducing battery cost. For stationary energy storage applications flow batteries and Na-S batteries may offer promise for high energy density storage at reduced cost.

The Conn Center strives to be at the forefront of the next generation energy storage devices. The Energy Storage lab is dedicated to discovering and manufacturing tomorrow’s energy storage capabilities.

The Conn Center has been actively involved in the development of new materials for Li-ion batteries, Li-S batteries, Li-air batteries, CFx batteries and supercapacitors. The facility is focused on development of high energy density, high power density batteries at low cost and in large scale. Energy storage requires development of long-lasting rechargeable batteries with nano-materials based electrodes, novel electrolytes (ionic, polymer) and advanced membranes, rapid screening of materials for batteries, and modeling of battery performance at the molecular level.

Energy Storage Contact

Gamini Sumanasekera, PhD
Professor of Physics & Astronomy
Acting Theme Leader Energy Storage
Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
Ernst Hall 302
Email: Gamini Sumanasekera