The Materials Project, run by Berkeley Lab, accelerates innovation by enabling computationally driven materials and battery design.
The Materials Project, a Google-like database of material properties aimed at accelerating innovation, has released an enormous trove of data to the public, giving scientists working on fuel cells, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, and a host of other advanced materials a powerful tool to explore new research avenues. But it has become a particularly important resource for researchers working on batteries.
Co-founded and directed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientist Kristin Persson, the Materials Project uses supercomputers to calculate the properties of materials based on first-principles quantum-mechanical frameworks. It was launched in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science.
In 2012, DOE established the Joint Center for Energy Storage Resarch (JCESR), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, which significantly enhanced the Materials Project with new simulations of next-generation battery electrodes and liquid organic electrolytes.
“This massive amount of precise data released through the Materials Project will have a profound and lasting impact on the battery research community,” said JCESR Director George Crabtree. “This is a great example of the way Berkeley Lab and other JCESR partners share scientific knowledge to advance the scientific frontier.”
The idea behind the Materials Project is that it can save researchers time by predicting material properties without needing to synthesize the materials first in the lab. It can also suggest new candidate materials that experimentalists had not previously dreamed up. With a user-friendly web interface, users can look up the calculated properties, such as voltage, capacity, band gap, and density, for tens of thousands of materials.