The Princeton Lab for Electrochemical Energy Systems studies all things electrochemical, complex, and systematic, with a current focus on energy storage systems. Particularly old, perhaps under-appreciated energy storage systems.
We consider not only the engineered electrochemically active material, but the context of the material. For example, more than 90% of electrochemical storage cells (batteries) contain printed or slurry cast components. Printing processes decouple materials synthesis and device fabrication, and allow for high throughput continuous manufacturing. This decoupling has allowed researchers to improve the materials used in all electrochemical cells and enabled the batteries we rely on a daily basis to be small, reliable and affordable.
However, the relationship between the processing of printed electrodes and cell performance is poorly understood at a fundamental level. Printed electrodes, at the microscale/nanoscale, are a collection of packed particles bound typically by a polymeric matrix. Intimate contact between the active particles are critical for power performance, so industries simply "squeeze and can" these electrodes to improve power performance. As applications begin to require mechanical flexibility and longer cycle life, the standard calendaring (or compression) batteries undergo may be unavailable or detrimental in the long term.
At the PLEES we have created an environment where we can quickly print, test, and analyze battery electrodes. With our custom printers/stages, microfluidic fabrication and testing equipment, and in-lab prototyping tools we can quickly iterate on designs and experiments, starting with a "shotgun" approach to complex problems and developing both variable spaces and hypotheses of interaction after a few design cycles.
The PLEES is part of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Engineering.
(we're just warming up)
The lab's tooling and characterization equipment enables research and training for
- Electrochemical Materials Processing
- Electroanalytic Chemistry
- Rapid Prototyping of Microfluidic Electrochemical Cells
- Print Processing of Arbitrary Slurries/Inks
The lab is currently receiving support from
- The National Science Foundation (Link)
- The Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment Andlinger Innovation Fund
- The Department of Energy through LDRD and user facilities collaborations with LLNL and BNL
Professor Steingart is grateful for previous support and guidance from
- The Department of Energy/ARPA-E (Link)
- The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (Link)
- The City College of New York 21st Century Fund