AHPCRC Projects

Project 1-6: The All-Electron Battery: Quantum Mechanics of Energy Storage in Electron Cavities
Principal Investigator: Fritz Prinz (Stanford University)

(New project for 2010)

 
Crystal structure of layered system
ZrO2 | Pt QW | ZrO2 | 3Pt3 QDs | ZrO2
  Charge density distribution before (left) and after (right) the system is charged with 4 extra electrons.
Graphics this page courtesy Fritz Prinz (Stanford University).

Portable power is crucial for a range of military operations. A soldier executing a 72 hour mission in Afghanistan must carry 26 pounds of batteries. A future battery with higher energy density could allow a soldier to carry more ammunition, body armor, other equipment, or be more mobile and suffer less fatigue.

The Rapid Prototyping Laboratory (RPL) at Stanford University proposes to study and develop a new all-electron battery (AEB) with the potential to deliver higher energy density than state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries. Recent experiments in the RPL have shown that this new battery may deliver both high power density and high energy density, and exhibit a longer lifetime than conventional batteries. The AEB stores energy in charge separation, using only electrons, which are lighter, and therefore faster, than the ion charge carriers typical of conventional batteries.

The RPL is currently fabricating and testing a proof-of-concept device. Ongoing research focuses on materials selection for each component of the device and testing the scalability of the device by adding more layers. To develop practical devices, charge transfer and storage in the AEB must be understood, and this is where HPC modeling and simulation come into play. A quantum mechanical approach, although computationally demanding, is necessary to formulate tests of various hypotheses and to make accurate predictions of AEB behavior.