Materials Research

Providing the critical combination of value, safety, and reliability needed for next generation grid-scale electrical energy storage starts with materials innovation. Through innovation of novel electrochemical systems, understanding of material interactions, and detailed investigations of critical structure/property/processing/performance relationships, Sandia meets the challenges needed for large-scale, cost-effective electrochemical energy storage.

Our team includes multidisciplinary experts in inorganic and organic chemistry, electrochemistry, materials science, and computation. We tackle materials challenges spanning molecules to megawatts. Integration of our efforts with academic and national laboratory partners provides expanded understanding of fundamental battery science, while working with industrial collaborators provides the connection to industry that motivates practical solutions for real-world battery problems.

Taking advantage of Sandia’s state-of-the-art technical capabilities and experienced technical experts, we:

  • Perform advanced, multi-scale characterization
  • Evaluate battery safety and reliability
  • Explore component design and prototyping

Our systems are designed with a goal of inherent safety and cost-effective performance, while being engineered into the basics of battery chemistry from the start. This approach means tackling every part of battery design including active electrochemical materials, solid-state and liquid electrolytes, anode and cathode materials, ion-selective separators, high performance current collectors, and battery packaging and integration components.

Current materials thrust efforts are focused on a diverse technology set, including:

  • Large-scale rechargeable alkaline zinc-manganese oxide batteries
  • Low temperature molten sodium batteries
  • Aqueous and non-aqueous flow batteries
  • Novel lithium-based batteries
  • Emerging technologies for forward-thinking needs such as long-duration storage

Our material-based battery designs are aimed not at providing incremental improvements in existing technologies; rather, we seek to perform the research and development that will enable new battery systems capable of revolutionizing how grid-integrated batteries impact national and global energy generation, storage, and transmission.

Erik Spoerke

(505) 284-1932