McDowell Receives ARPA-E Funding to Develop Ultrahigh-Energy Density Battery Chemistries

Matthew McDowell

Matthew McDowell, Associate Professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering and initiative lead for energy storage at the Strategic Energy Institute 

Matthew McDowell, Woodruff Faculty Fellow and associate professor in the G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering and the  School of Materials Science and Engineering and initiative lead for energy storage at the Strategic Energy Institute, has received $1.3 million in funding through the Pioneering Railroad, Oceanic, and Plane Electrification with 1K energy storage systems (PROPEL-1K) program. Aimed at accelerating the electrification of the aviation, railroad, and maritime transportation sectors, PROPEL-1K is one of the latest ARPA-E grants with projects to develop energy storage systems that can achieve over 1,000 watt-hour per kilogram and 1,000 watt-hour per liter. These technologies will improve energy density fourfold over current technologies.

Inspired by fuel injectors in internal combustion engines and conventional flow batteries, McDowell’s project will advance an alkali hydroxide triple phase flow battery to enable reversible operation of ultrahigh-energy density battery chemistries. The project’s proposed design will increase energy density by leveraging innovative pumping and handling of molten alkali metal and hydroxide species to maximize the volume of reactants over inactive components.

McDowell will work with Asegun Henry, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to MIT, Henry was an assistant professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Created in 2007, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in the Department of Energy advances high-potential, high-impact energy technologies. The agency focuses on transformational energy projects that can be meaningfully advanced with a small amount of funding over a defined period through a streamlined awards process that enables quick action and catalyzes cutting-edge areas of energy research.

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