This project is aimed at developing a storage battery that has more than three times the energy density achieved by existing technologies, with the view to commercializing it for applications such as electric vehicles (EVs) as early as possible before 2030. The length of the project is seven years, and it has a total budget of ¥21 billion (approx US$214 million).
In addition to Kyoto University, six other universities, three research institutions and 12 companies are participating in the consortium. The participating companies include leading automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Honda R&D Co Ltd as well as battery manufacturers such as Sanyo Electric Co Ltd and GS Yuasa Corp.
The consortium will conduct the joint research, setting up a research center at Kyoto University with more than 50 researchers from the participating companies and institutions.
"The environment surrounding batteries is drastically changing as seen in the US, which set a goal to introduce one million hybrids by 2015, in France and Germany, where full-fledged research on storage batteries has begun, and in China, where BYD Auto Co Ltd announced its proprietary EV," said Shuji Yumitori, director of the Power Storage Technology Development Division in the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technology Development Department at NEDO.
"We have built up a very high level of power storage technology in Japan, but Japanese developers have to unite and develop an advanced storage battery together in an effort to overwhelmingly extend Japan’s advantage and fortify its competitiveness," he said.
"This project’s final target is to develop a storage battery with an energy density three times higher than the current level, but we consider this target to be a milestone toward the development of a storage battery with more than five times the current energy density," he added.
Specifically, NEDO will start improving the quality of Li-ion secondary battery and developing a new storage battery that features higher quality than Li-ion secondary battery. They are planning to develop battery materials and a new storage battery system by determining the battery’s basic reaction principle and mechanism through the development of a high-level diagnostic and analytic technologies for batteries, using systems such as "SPring-8" and "J-PARC."
Until the project is completed seven years later, "We hope that we will at least be reaching the point of developing a coin cell-sized battery and confirming its operation by actually charging and discharging power," Yumitori said.
Kyoto University’s specially appointed professor Zempachi Ogumi will become project leader. The participating companies and research institutions will work in four groups, "high-level analytical technology," "battery reaction analysis," "material innovation" and "innovative battery."
A management team consisting of NEDO employees is set up above the four groups. Always being at the R&D site, this management team will manage the research schedule, monitor trends in the related technology development, and coordinate the interests of participating companies.
This is NEDO’s first management team working so closely with researchers. NEDO said it will commit itself to strongly promoting research through this system with unprecedentedly meticulous management.
The members of this joint research are as follows.
* Kyoto University
* Tohoku University
* Tokyo Institute of Technology
* Waseda University
* Kyushu University
* Ritsumeikan University
* National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)
* Japan Fine Ceramics Center (reconsignment: Shizuoka University)
* High Energy Accelerator Research Organization
* Sanyo Electric Co Ltd
* GS Yusasa Corp
* Shin-Kobe Electric Machinery Co Ltd
* Toyota Motor Corp
* Toyota Central R&D Labs Inc
* Nissan Motor Co Ltd
* Panasonic Corp
* Hitachi Ltd
* Hitachi Maxell Ltd
* Honda R&D Co Ltd
* Mitsubishi Motors Corp
* Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd