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NREL Convenes Gathering of U.S.-China Electric Vehicle Battery Experts

May 3, 2016

On April 25-26, NREL and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) hosted the 11th U.S.-China Electric Vehicle and Battery Technology Information Exchange to share insights on battery technology advancements and identify opportunities to collaborate on electric vehicle battery research. More than 80 attendees, including battery researchers and industry experts from both countries, convened under the auspices of the U.S.-China bilateral Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) to share information on battery market trends, developments in key chemical materials, safety and cell modeling, materials recycling, and more.

"The meeting addressed today's most pressing battery research and industry questions, offering a collaborative setting to explore battery solutions for electric vehicles in the world's two largest automobile markets," said Ahmad Pesaran, NREL's Energy Storage group manager with the Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center (THSC) and chairman of the Meeting Organizing Committee.  NREL's battery work encompasses silicon anode research and development, thermal testing, battery modeling, and system evaluation. 

Distinguished professor Feng Wu with Beijing Institute of Technology and chairman of the EVI Scientific Committee commented on the challenges presented by China's growing demand for motor vehicles, with new energy automobile market holdings predicted to reach 5 million by 2020-and 15 million by 2030. Some other industry challenges and trends highlighted by Chinese speakers were the development of new anode materials for lithium-ion batteries and recycling used lithium-ion vehicle batteries.

Dave Howell, acting deputy director with the Energy Department's Vehicle Technology Office and U.S. chairman of the EVI Scientific Committee, provided an overview of U.S. battery development. A key priority in battery research for the Energy Department, Howell said, is the development of computer engineering design tools, with NREL playing a significant role in this research effort by leading the Computer Aided Engineering for Electric Drive Batteries (CAEBAT) consortium.

Many of the presenters expressed their enthusiasm for the meeting's success in fostering new relationships, building trust to engage in future research partnerships, and the opportunity for the countries to learn from one another. 

Participants also had an opportunity to visit NREL for a tour of the campus, which featured the Energy Systems Integration Facility, Vehicle Testing and Integration Facility, and Thermal Test Facility, to learn more about NREL's activities related to electric vehicles and batteries. Visitors spoke highly of the laboratory's research and facilities, asking questions and calling attention to both the differences and commonalities between the United States and China in their renewable energy research capabilities. Following the tour, the delegation from Beijing Institute of Technology expressed interest in future collaboration with NREL on thermal management of batteries using NREL's R&D 100 Award-winning Isothermal Battery Calorimeters

EVI focuses on activities such as joint standards development, demonstration projects, technical road mapping for new research, information exchange, and public education. The goals of the U.S.-China cooperative research efforts are to accelerate electric vehicle sales, reduce the dependence on foreign oil for both countries, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote economic growth. The 2017 U.S.-China EVI workshop will take place in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China.

Learn more about NREL's work in electric vehicle battery research.

—Nicolene Durham