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DOE Awards $45 Million to Deploy Advanced Transportation Technologies

Posted on: 09/03/2013
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it has awarded more than $45 million for 38 new projects that accelerate the research and development of vehicle technologies to improve fuel efficiency, lower transportation costs, and protect the environment.

Through the Advanced Vehicle Power Technology Alliance between the DOE and the U.S. Department of the Army, the Army is contributing an additional $3 million in co-funding to support projects focused on lightweighting and propulsion materials, batteries, fuels, and lubricants.

The 38 projects span five major areas deemed critical to advanced transportation technologies. Those areas with direct materials science and engineering implications are:

Advanced Lightweighting and Propulsion Materials—15 projects, $10.2 million: These projects will conduct research on lightweight materials—such as advanced high-strength steel, magnesium, and aluminum—that allow vehicle manufacturers to include electric drive components, electronic systems, and emissions control equipment without increasing vehicle weight.

Advanced Batteries—13 projects, $22.5 million: In the last four years, the cost of a plug-in electric vehicle battery has come down by nearly 50%. These projects are intended to improve cell chemistry and composition, develop advanced electrolytes, and create new battery design tools—helping to further reduce costs. Broadly, the projects aim to cut battery size and weight in half, while improving efficiency and performance.

Power Electronics4 projects, $8 million: Compared to silicon-based technologies, wide bandgap semiconductors—such as silicon carbide and gallium nitride—can operate at higher temperatures, have greater durability and reliability, and can lower the cost and improve performance of plug-in electric vehicle inverters. Separately, new approaches to enable high-temperature operation and cost reduction for capacitors in these inverters will also help to reduce the cost of vehicle power electronics. These projects will contribute to reducing the cost of a plug-in electric vehicle inverter by more than 30%.

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