Electrochemical Systems

Funding Agency:
National Science Foundation

The Electrochemical Systems program is part of the Chemical Process Systems cluster, which also includes: 1) the Catalysis program; 2) the Interfacial Engineering program; and 3) the Process Systems, Reaction Engineering, and Molecular Thermodynamics program.

The goal of the Electrochemical Systems program is to support fundamental engineering science research that will enable innovative processes involving electrochemistry or photochemistry for the sustainable production of electricity, fuels, chemicals, and other specialty and commodity products. Processes utilizing electrochemistry or photochemistry for sustainable energy and chemical production must be scalable, environmentally benign, reduce greenhouse gas production, and utilize renewable resources. Research projects that stress fundamental understanding of phenomena that directly impact key barriers to improved system or component-level performance (for example, energy efficiency, product yield, process intensification) are encouraged. Processes for energy storage should address fundamental research barriers for renewable electricity storage applications, for transport propulsion, or for other applications that could have impact towards climate change mitigation. For projects concerning energy storage materials, proposals should involve testable hypotheses that involve device or component performance characteristics that are tied to fundamental understanding of transport, kinetics, or thermodynamics. Advanced chemistries beyond lithium-ion are encouraged. Proposed research on processes utilizing electrochemistry or photochemistry should be inspired by the need for economic and impactful conversion processes.

All proposal project descriptions should address how the proposed work, if successful, will improve process realization and economic feasibility and compare the proposed work against current state of the art. Highly integrated multidisciplinary projects are encouraged. When appropriate, collaborations with industrial technologists are encouraged through GOALI proposals. Collaborative projects with an integrated experimental and theoretical approach are also encouraged.

Full Proposal Accepted Anytime

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Topics of interest include electrochemical energy storage and electrochemical production/conversion systems. Radically new battery systems can move the U.S. more rapidly toward a more sustainable transportation future and to greater renewable electricity production penetration. High-energy density and high-power density batteries suitable for transportation and renewable energy storage applications are of primary interest. Advanced systems involving metal anodes, solid-state electrolytes, nonaqueous systems beyond lithium, aqueous systems beyond lithium, and multivalent chemistries are encouraged. Research activities focused on commercially available systems such as lead-acid and nickel-metal hydride batteries or lithium-ion batteries for medical or consumer electronics applications will not be considered by this program. Novel electrochemical and photochemical systems and processes for the production of chemicals and high-value products are encouraged. Emphasis is placed on those systems that improve process intensification and process modularization with accompanying benefits in energy efficiency and environmental footprint.

Additional fundamental science topics of interest to this program include the study of:

  • advanced fuel cell systems or fuel cell components for transportation propulsion or grid energy storage applications;
  • flow batteries for stationary energy storage applications including alternative redox chemistries (e.g., organic, inorganic, organometallic, macromolecular) and operating strategies (e.g., redox-mediation, suspensions); and
  • photocatalytic or photoelectrochemical processes and devices for the splitting of water into hydrogen gas or for the reduction of carbon dioxide to liquid or gaseous fuels. Projects that largely focus on developing fundamental understanding of the catalytic reaction mechanisms and structure-function relationships may be more appropriate as submissions to the CBET Catalysis program (CBET 1401).

Projects submitted to the Electrochemical Systems program are expected to develop fundamental, molecular-level understanding of the key chemical reaction and transport phenomena barriers to improved system-level performance. Innovative proposals outside of these specific interest areas may be considered. However, prior to submission, it is recommended that the Principal Investigator contact the program director to avoid the possibility of the proposal being returned without review.

Amount Description

The duration of unsolicited proposal awards in CBET is generally up to three years.  Single-investigator award budgets typically include support for one graduate student (or equivalent) and up to one month of principal investigator time per year (awards for multiple investigator projects are typically larger). Proposal budgets that are much larger than typical should be discussed with the Program Director prior to submission. 

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Environmental & Life Sciences