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How DOE Researchers Are Using AI, Robots to Design the Successor to Lithium-Ion Batteries


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Joint Center for Energy Storage Research director George Crabtree.

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Center for Energy Storage Research are using artificial intelligence and robots to search for a successor to the lithium-ion battery.

Credit: U.S. Department of Energy Joint Center for Energy Storage Research

To improve battery technology beyond the lithium-ion model, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) are using artificial intelligence (AI) and robots to design an organic redox-flow battery.

JCESR investigators are using AI to find molecular structures that might meet the battery's myriad performance requirements.

Said JCESR director George Crabtree, "With AI, instead of simulating hundreds or thousands of molecules, you go immediately to the most promising five or ten and consider only those."

A robot then synthesizes the material, runs it through many machines, and feeds the results back to the AI for scoring.

Crabtree said, "The big advantage of this so-called flow battery is that it's scalable, so if I make that tank of active ions 10 times larger, I can store 10 times the energy density."

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