JCESR Scientific Sprints – Better Polymers for Better Batteries
Argonne National Laboratory leads the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a major collaborative research partnership with the goal of developing next-generation energy storage technologies. JCESR supplements its traditional project management approach with scientific “Sprints.” The Sprint described in this video involved a multidisciplinary team from Argonne, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Michigan. As they studied how polymers in solution can react electrochemically to store energy, the team solved a crucial battery problem: “crossover,” which is caused by molecules mixing together when they should not, resulting in reduced performance. Many possible materials were tested, and a set of candidate polymers were chosen that are stable, cheap to make, and suitable for conditions required in batteries. The collaboration allowed timely development that would have taken much longer had the groups been working independently.