DOE to Award $14.55 Million for Advanced Vehicle Technologies
December 3, 2008
DOE announced on December 3 its selection of six companies to receive up to $14.55 million over the next three years, subject to annual appropriations, for the research, development, and demonstration of advanced vehicle technologies. The projects were chosen from three topic areas: two projects related to thermoelectric heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) will receive $6.5 million from DOE; three projects involving lithium-ion battery materials and manufacturing will receive $6.85 million; and one project to develop aerodynamic heavy-duty truck trailers will receive up to $1 million. When combined with private sector contributions, up to $29.3 million could be invested in these projects. The projects are not part of the $25 billion Advanced Technologies Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, but instead are part of DOE's ongoing work to develop high efficiency vehicle technologies.
For two of the projects, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation will each develop thermoelectric HVAC systems, which involve solid-state devices that can heat or cool a vehicle's occupants without heating or cooling the entire passenger compartment, so the HVAC systems can be more energy efficient. For instance, the systems might include heating and cooling devices embedded in the vehicle's seats. Thermoelectric HVAC systems are also essential for all-electric vehicles and for hybrids and plug-in hybrids operating in all-electric mode, because they run on electricity rather than relying on the excess heat or power of an engine. Ford's project team will include DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The three lithium-ion battery projects include an effort by 3M Company to develop advanced materials for negative electrodes, or anodes, while BASF Catalyst LLC will develop an industrial process for the production of low-cost positive electrodes, or cathodes. FMC Corporation's project will also relate to cathodes, as the company will scale up its production of stabilized lithium metal powders, which can be used to produce cathodes. In addition, Navistar International Corporation will design, demonstrate, and bring to market a tractor-trailer combination and tire package that can reduce the fuel consumption of a heavy-duty vehicle by at least 15%. Navistar will include DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on its team. See the DOE press release.