The Army Research Office Wants AI to Help Them Create Better Batteries​

The Army Research Office is now planning to develop highly effective and durable fuel cells to use, and it is appealing to AI to do so. There are allegedly an incredibly large array of combinations of materials that could produce a better battery, but trying every method would take too long of a time.

With this in mind, the ARO decided to seek the help of AI technology, using it to match different elements rapidly and find the best combinations for humans to then try out.

The ARO scientists want to enhance fuel cells by substituting the requirement for hydrogen, which is quite challenging to store, with methanol, a probably more effective element. The goal of this replacement is to double or even triple the battery life. However, the challenge here is the fact that there are no known elements for effective stimulus for methanol oxidation.

The AI mixes various software agents that investigate particular elements and match the results. This is making things a lot easier as it allows the researchers to find the limits of where they should explore for a better battery. Because methanol oxidation requires three elements, rather than two, the amount of permutations grows considerably.

ARO designed a system called CRYSTAL that gives different robots small fragments of the issue to analyze through those permutations. Thus far, one catalyst has been discovered that is efficient for oxidation and could be of great help in creating better batteries.

ARO’s search on batteries is performed by various universities. The department collaborated with Cornell University to design the AI robots that could work within material science.

Besides the ARO, the Defense Department is also putting a lot of money into technologies like Artificial Intelligence. The 2019 budget of the department focused a great deal on future technologies similar to AI and machine learning.

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