When: Friday, December 10, 2021

Time: 12:00 - 5:30 PM (EST)

Where: Kay Boardrooms, Kim Engineering Building (KEB), UMD, College Park

Cost:  free


The focus of this program includes opportunities for electric vehicles in Alaska, to liquefied gas electrolytes, portable energy storage designed for the battlefield, and battery operations possibilities on Mars. Speakers come from an array of academic, industry and govermental backgrounds.

12:00 PM — Welcome: Eric Wachsman, Ph.D. University of Maryland  
12:10 — Alexander Kott, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, Army Research Laboratory--keynote presentation
12:20 — Giuseppe di Benedetto, Ph.D., Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center
12:40 — Alexandra Karalekas,  Army Combat Capabilities Development Command C5ISR Center
1:00 — Timothy Cooke, Ph.D., Army Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory
1:20 — Cyrus Rustomji, Ph.D., South 8 Technologies
1:40 — Oleg Borodin, Ph.D., Army Research Laboratory
2:00 — Tom Barbarich, Ph.D., EaglePicher Technologies

2:20 to 2:50— BREAK

2:50 — Michelle Wilber, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
3:10 — Jennifer Herman, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
3:30 — Marshall Smart, Ph.D., NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
3:50 — Chunsheng Wang, Ph.D., University of Maryland
4:10 — David Burns, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
4:30 — Vilas Pol, Ph.D., Purdue University
4:50 — Closing Remarks:  Eric Wachsman et al.


Tom Barbarich, Ph.D., has 18 years of experience as an industry battery scientist. He joined Eagle Picher in 2018 where his primary responsibilities are development and testing of electrolytes for high power applications requiring a wide operational temperature range. Other duties include testing and evaluation of cell materials and cell designs, and managing EaglePicher intellectual property. Tom's prior industrial affiliations were at Xalt Energy, Amprius, BASF, Enerdel and Yardney Technical Products. 

Giuseppe di Benedetto, Ph.D., is a Chemical Engineer and Power Team Lead at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center. During his 12 years at the Center his projects have included power and energy, printed materials & electronics, additive/advanced manufacturing, material characterization, material degradation, and reliability.  Guiseppe collaborates with industry, universities, and other government agencies on research programs and projects.

Oleg Borodin, Ph.D., facilitates molecular scale modeling of battery electrolytes, solutions, polymers, electrochemical interfaces, reactivity and electrochemical stability of electrodes at ARL. Collaborating with his experimental counterparts, Borodin explores the ionic transport mechanism, its connection to transference number and conductivity, key factors behind electrochemical reactivity of electrolytes at electrodes and a role the electrochemical double layer (EDL) structure plays in electrolyte stability, degradation and ion transport. 

David Burns, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. His interests include energy storage in extreme environments, particularly at low temperatures. Burns is the lead on Thermal Battery research, and is establishing work on Lithium-Sulfur batteries with an interest in low temperature performance. Prior to APL, his graduate research focused on improving Lithium-Sulfur battery performance at room temperature and below freezing.

Timothy Cooke, Ph.D., is a Research Chemist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL). He is a member of CRREL’s Cold Regions Energy Research Development Testing and Evaluation (RDTE) group, a relatively new group that focuses on understanding Army and DOD related energy issues in cold regions and providing solutions to the particular set of challenges when working in extreme cold conditions.

Jennifer Herman has been the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Power Subsystem Operations Lead for a series of rovers in the Mars Exploration Program, including Opportunity, which operated on Mars from 2004-2019.

Alexandra (Lexi) Karalekas is a Chemical Engineer in the Power Division of the Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. Karalekas focuses on both cell and battery development and currently oversees the research and development of both primary and rechargeable batteries, including the evolution of the BB-2590, specifically, low temperature capabilities.

Alexander Kott, Ph.D., is the Chief Scientist of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL), a component of the US Army Futures Command. Earlier he was a Defense Advanced Research Programs Agency (DARPA) Program Manager. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh, PA, in 1989.

Vilas Pol, Ph.D., is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University. Previously, Pol was a materials scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.  His research interests include the design and engineering of various synthesis processes (solid-state, sonochemical, autogenic reactions, hydrothermal synthesis) for the preparation of functional nanostructures for applications as electrode materials for energy storage devices. Pol's main electrochemical energy storage technology interests are Li-ion, Li-S and Na-ion batteries.

Cyrus Rustomji, Ph.D., is Co-Founder and CEO of South 8 Technologies that is developing novel Liquefied Gas Electrolytes. He earned his Ph.D. from UC San Diego under Prof. Shirley Meng with a focus on batteries with low temperature operation, increased energy and improved safety. Prior to earning his Ph.D., Rustomji worked with Eaton, ZPower, and Space Micro on developing products ranging from electrochemical capacitors, batteries and space electronics. 

Marshall Smart, Ph.D., is a Principal Member of the Technical Staff at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. He is currently the Cognizant Engineer of the Li-ion Battery for the Europa Clipper project and the Mars 2020 Ingenuity Helicopter. Smart's research includes the development of low temperature electrolytes for lithium-ion batteries, and his electrolyte technology has been used on a number of Mars missions.

Chungsheng Wang, Ph.D., is a Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Maryland, and the Director of the Center for Research in Extreme Batteries. Wang's current research activities include rechargeable batteries, applied electrochemistry, fuel cells, electroanalytical technologies, nanostructured materials, electrochemical gas separation and compression.

Michelle Wilber is a Research Engineer with the Alaska Center for Energy and Power, University of Alaska Fairbanks. She leads the Beneficial and Equitable Electrification group and conducts research on electric vehicles.  Michelle grew up in Alaska, received a B.S. from Caltech, and returned to Alaska to complete an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

"Enabling High Current Densities at Low Temperatures"
ABSTRACT:  At low temperatures, both the capacity and rate capability of Li-ion batteries are significantly diminished. As a supplier to the DoD and NASA, EaglePicher has several projects that require improvements to the operational temperature range of batteries with high power requirements and improvements to capacity or power at extremely low temperatures (≤ -50 °C). Two specific systems have been developed. This first delivers high power capability down to -40 °C with improved high (>55°C) temperature stability through electrolyte modification.  The second is an electrolyte that operates up to the 1C rate at -60°C while still providing good cycle life at room temperature.  The new challenges and approaches to improving the capacity and high-power performance at ultra-low temperatures will also be discussed. 
Speaker: Tom Barbarich, Ph.D., Eagle Picher

"Advanced Materials and Prototype Solutions for Batteries in Extreme Cold Weather (ECW) Environments"
ABSTRACT: Batteries are limited by cold weather in multiple ways. Batteries will lose their charge over time in cold weather, have reduced current capacity when cold, and batteries may freeze in extreme cold temperatures. To overcome these limitations, U.S. Army DEVCOM Armaments Center (DEVCOM-AC) designed and fabricated passive, non-powered advanced insulation covers for BB2590 batteries used in many different military platforms. These advanced insulation cover prototypes can extend the BB2590 battery run times in ECW conditions simulated in laboratory chambers and have increased the continuous operation time in the field.
Speaker: Giuseppe Di Benedetto, Ph.D., Army Development Command Armaments Center

"Insight from molecular modeling into low temperature battery electrolytes"
ABSTRACT:  Molecular dynamics simulations of the liquefied gas-electrolytes (LGEs) are used to provide insight into the structure, transference number and lithium transport mechanism over a wide range of temperatures to complement experimental studies.  I will discuss a connection between the unexpectedly high transference number found in LGEs and ion structure. The transport mechanism and electrochemical properties will be contrasted with traditional electrolytes.
Speaker: Oleg Borodin, Ph.D., ARL

 "Towards Lithium-Sulfur batteries"
ABSTRACT:  Batteries for electric devices and vehicles anticipated to operate in low temperature regions.  Their batteries must reliably operate at low temperatures in order to be useful in regions which experience harsh colds either seasonally or year-round. Lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) batteries are a potential future option for energy storage with high specific energy. However, like many other battery systems, Li-S performance deteriorates as temperatures plunge. A fundamental understanding of Li-S chemistry at reduced temperatures and how to influence that chemistry is important for future development of practical Li-S batteries. This talk explores the technique of chemically tethering lithium polysulfides and its impact on performance down to -10°C, and includes insight to Li-S performance at even lower temperatures by drawing from recent literature.
Speaker:  David Burns, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

"Cold Regions Energy RDTE: Battery Challenges in Extreme Cold Climates"
ABSTRACT:  Welcome to CRREL’s Energy RDTE team. Join me on a tour of the facilities, capabilities, and some of the recent research endeavors of our new group. Learn about how we fit into the DoD and Army research apparatus and how our projects are impacting Army interests and warfighter support in cold regions, and how anyone can leverage our expertise to further their own research goals.
Speaker: Timothy Cooke, Ph.D., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE/ERDC/CRREL)

"PDF iconSpacecraft Battery Operations on Mars"
ABSTRACT:  Spacecraft on Mars have the dual challenges of an extremely dusty environment and of very cold temperatures.  Batteries that are capable of supporting spacecraft power loads while operating at -30 C and colder are necessary for survival on Mars. A summary of past and current Mars surface missions along with the battery technologies that enable their operation will be discussed.
Speaker:  Jennifer Herman, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Power Subsystem Operations

"Lithium Ion Battery Advancements at Low Temperature"
ABSTRACT:  Unavailable
Speaker:  Alexandra (Lexi) Karalekas, Army Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (C5ISR) Center

"Purdue University Battery Systems for Extreme Low Temperature Operations"
ABSTRACT:  Development of lithium ion batteries (LIBs) with high capacity electrode materials, longer cycle life, enhanced safety performance, and extreme low temperature operation. Recent advancement in high performance LIBs via electrolyte design including high salt concentrations and low freezing point solvents for creating efficient electrode/electrolyte interfaces for extreme low (-40 o C and lower) temperature operations will be discussed. A brief discussion on hybrid battery concepts for extreme low temperature concept-of-operations will be provided.
Speaker:  Vilas Pol, Ph.D., Purdue University

"Lithium Batteries Using Liquefied Gas Electrolytes for Extreme Low Temperature Operation"
ABSTRACT:  How increased electrolyte impedance is a leading contributing factor in limiting Li-ion cell performance at temperatures below freezing. Developing new electrolyte formulations using conventional liquid solvents of lower viscosity or melting points often limit performance at higher temperatures or with cycle life. South 8 Technologies is developing novel Liquefied Gas Electrolytes which allow for operation from -60 to +60 C while maintaining excellent cycle life and improving safety. These novel chemistries have the potential to replace conventional carbonate based electrolytes in several Li-ion applications, particularly where low temperature performance or safety is mission critical.
Speaker: Cyrus Rustomji, Ph.D., CEO of South 8 Technologies

"Development of Low Temperature Electrolytes for Operation of Lithium-ion Batteries in Extreme Environments for NASA Missions"
ABSTRACT:  For a number of years, we have been engaged in the development of low temperature electrolytes to enable the operation of Li-ion batteries in extreme environments for a number of past, present, and future NASA applications.  Improved operation at low temperature has been achieved by the optimization of carbonate solvent blends, the use of low viscosity ester-based co-solvents, mixed electrolyte salts, and the addition of functional additives. Improved low temperature capability has been demonstrated in small and large capacity prototype cells with a number of chemistries (i.e., NCO, NCA, LCO and LFP-based chemistries), including the ability to deliver high specific energy down to -60oC, good charge acceptance at low temperature, and high-power capability at -40oC.  
Speaker:  Marshall Smart, Ph.D., NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

"Low-temperature NMC811||Graphite Lithium-Ion Batteries"
ABSTRACT:  Li-ion batteries (LIBs) using graphite anode and high voltage nickel-rich cathodes (LiNixCoyMnzO2 (x+y+z=1)) are a promising energy storage technology. However, charging these LIBs at low temperatures (≤ -20 ℃) remains challenging because the excessive resistances encountered by Li+ in both bulk electrolytes and the interphases induce lithium plating on graphite anodes and electrolytes decomposition on the cathodes, which accelerate the capacity decay of the batteries.  Presented is an EC-free electrolyte composition consisting of 2.0 M LiFSI-EMC/TTE that simultaneously reduces the overpotentials for Li+ transport in bulk electrolyte and interphases, allowing facile charge transfer reactions even at sub-zero temperatures. The electrolyte enables LiNi0.8Mn0.1Co0.1O2||graphite (NMC811||Gr) LIBs with 1.0 mAh cm-2 loading to deliver a capacity of ~113 mAh g-1 at an N/P ratio of ~1.15 at a rate of 1/3C at 25 oC, and 92 mAh g-1 at -20 ℃ without lithium plating at the same rate of 1/3C. The NMC811||Gr cells retain 78% of their room-temperature capacity even at -40 ℃ and show stable cycling at a high temperature of 50 ℃. The effective electrolyte engineering approach in this work provides a general guideline to the design of low-temperature electrolytes for LIBs in practical use.
Speaker:  Chunsheng Wang, Ph.D., University of Maryland

"PDF iconChallenges and Research Opportunities for Electric Vehicles in Alaska"
ABSTRACT:  Concerns around cold weather performance of electric vehicles inhibit adoption in Alaska.  The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has collected data on vehicle energy use vs temperature to -40C, and has also created maps and calculators to help Alaskans and others in cold climates estimate the suitability of currently available vehicles.  Future research directions for ACEP include investigating emerging electric vehicles (buses, snow machines, etc) in Alaska, working with Alaska communities to develop research concerns and priorities, and investigating potential grid impacts in cold climates and microgrids.
Speaker:  Michelle Wilber, Alaska Center for Energy and Power, University of Alaska Fairbanks 

Questions?  Please send an email to Jim Short, CREB Program Director (

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