On September 13 the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced $37 million in funding for 16 new projects as part of its new program called Integration and Optimization of Novel Ion-Conducting Solids (IONICS). The projects that make up the IONICS program transform current technologies that overcome the limitations of current battery and fuel cell products. To learn more about IONICS, read on!

The IONICS projects will work to create high performance solid ion conductors that allow ions to be mobile and store energy. Solid ion conductors have shown potential as a robust high-performance alternative to traditional liquid electrolytes and expensive fuel cell parts that are used today. The IONICS program will focus on new methods to process and integrate solid ion conductors into devices that will ultimately lead to commercialization. The program will work to improve energy storage and conversion technologies in three categories: transportation batteries, grid-level storage, and fuel cells.

Battery technologies have improved in the past, but still face imposing physical and chemical barriers that have stifled further innovation. “Solid ion conductors made of affordable, easily produced materials could replace today’s mostly liquid electrolytes and expensive fuel cell parts, helping create a next generation of batteries and fuel cells that are low-cost, durable, and more efficient,” said ARPA-E Director Dr. Ellen D. Williams. In keeping with the U.S.’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, the IONICS program and its projects will help with this goal, enable the production of more domestic, renewable energy, and increase the U.S.’s economic competitiveness in the energy sphere.

To learn more about the announcement, access the press release here.