Researchers at North Carolina State University will look for ways to improve the batteries in hybrid electric vehicles thanks to a $1.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The funds were directed to NCSU’s , or FREEDM, Systems Center.

The FREEDM Center was created last year through a five-year $18.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Xiangwu Zhang, assistant professor of textile engineering in NC State’s College of Textiles, will lead the study. Also participating will be Alex Huang, the FREEDM Systems Center director, as well as Peter Fedkiw and Saad Khan, of the College of Engineering.

Zhang and the others will focus on so-called “electrospinning technology” that will integrate lithium alloy and carbon into novel composite nanofiber anodes, NCSU said. These anodes will hold more energy, cost less and tolerate abuse better than materials found in existing batteries, according to the university.