As recently displayed with the the battery being used in the Chevrolet Volt, rigorous testing is a vital part of the battery production process. One of the nation’s leaders in this type of testing, BATLab(Battery Abuse Testing Laboratory) at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., will now be able to ramp up its efforts as it has just become the recipient of an early christmas present, one that comes in the form of a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The tests taking place at Sandia help to determine how much abuse lithium ion batteries can safely handle, including being crushed, pounded with nails and heated to boiling hot temperatures. Sandia tests everything from regular small cells about the size of a laptop computer battery up to full-sized modules and packs weighing several hundred pounds for hybrid vehicles. With the added funds from the D.O.E., which come as a part of Pres. Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Sandia will be able to test batteries on a larger scale than is currently taking place.
“The equipment and facilities that we currently have allow us to do only one test at a time, so our throughput has been somewhat limited,” said Pete Roth, lead researcher for Sandia’s FreedomCAR program. “The new equipment and upgrades that we will be able to implement will enhance the amount and range of testing and diagnostics that we can do, and we expect to at least be able to double our throughput.”
The nation’s first full-scale debut of electric cars that can run up to 40 miles on a single charge is expected late next year, and Sandia has played an instrumental role in ensuring the safety and reliability of the batteries that power those vehicles. With so much relying on the success and widespread acceptance of hybrid and all-electric vehicles, the federal government is doing what it can to ensure the batteries being used in these vehicles are efficient, clean, and safe.
“As we look to the future and the challenges this nation will continue to face in terms of national security, in terms of energy security, in terms of climate, we can continue to rely on the insights, innovation, technology, dedication and patriotism of the people at Sandia and at our other national laboratories,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “It’s so terribly important that we keep the nation’s work moving in this direction.”
Category: Battery News