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January 18, 2022

Scott Institute Faculty Receive Navy NEPTUNE Partnership for Hydrogen Electrolysis and Battery Research

By Julia Concolino, Katelyn Haas-Conrad

Kristen Whitlinger
  • Digital Communications Manager

The Scott Institute is honored to have the Office of Naval Research (ONR 33) NEPTUNE program choose Carnegie Mellon to be a lead university. Institute Director Jay Whitacre, Energy Fellow Venkat Viswanathan, and Shawn Litster are the research leads of the NEPTUNE research team at Carnegie Mellon.  NEPTUNE stands for the Naval Enterprise Partnership Teaming with Universities for National Excellence. The NEPTUNE program aligns university research with the National Defense Strategy (NDS) and aims to accelerate delivery of technologies and products to benefit defense and commercial sectors.  

The partnership with three globally-recognized Scott Institute energy researchers will focus on two main projects:

  • Whitacre and Viswanathan are leading research into creating sustained-operation batteries. This research is creating a new class of ultra-high energy density batteries based on a new type of electrolyte system that's significantly safer to use than the existing standard. The team is developing next-generation Na-ion batteries, high-energy density energy storage, and improved safety energy storage technologies as part of their research.
  • Litster is leading the research to develop electrolyzer catalysts to make hydrogen. His team is proposing to develop an ultra-high power density membrane electrode assembly (MEA) for proton exchange membrane water electrolyzers (PEMWEs) that takes advantage of the robust polymer perfluorosulfonic acid (PFSA) membranes and the proven, stable performance of iridium-based catalysts.

NEPTUNE Research Projects

  1. Optimized, Safe, Ultra high energy density Na-CFx and Li-CFx primary/secondary batteries via the use of sub-fluorinated CFx and novel eutectic electrolyte combinations
    Faculty in Charge: Jay Whitacre, Venkat Viswanathan
  1. Ultra-high power density, low-cost electrolyzer electrodes via conformal coating of catalyst thin-films on vertically-aligned ion-conducting polymer nanofibers
    Faculty in Charge: Shawn Lister