DOE to award $120M to team led by Argonne National Lab for joint research hub on batteries and energy storage; 5-5-5 goal
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected a multi-partner team led by Argonne National Laboratory for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. (Earlier post.) The award, based on results, is renewable for another 5 years.
The Hub, to be known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), will combine the R&D capabilities of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving revolutionary advances in battery performance, targeting electric and hybrid cars and the electricity grid. The goal, said Eric Isaacs, Director of Argonne National Laboratory, is “5-5-5. We will develop batteries that are five times more powerful and five times cheaper within 5 years. Factors of five are what we need to transform transportation and the power grid.”
We will invent at the molecular scale new complex materials and design transformational prototype battery systems that can be engineered for manufacturing.—Eric Issacs
When you have to deliver the goods very very quickly, you need to put the best scientists next to the best engineers across disciplines to get very focused on solving the problem.—Energy Secretary Steven Chu
The new Hub will integrate efforts at several successful independent research programs into a larger, coordinated effort designed to push the limits on battery advances.
JCESR (pronounced “J-Caesar”) will be directed by George W. Crabtree, Argonne Senior Scientist, Distinguished Fellow and Associate Division Director; Distinguished Professor of Physics, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago; and an internationally recognized leader in energy research.
The Hub will bring together some of the most advanced energy storage research programs in the US today. Other national labs partnering with Argonne include Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Sandia National Laboratories; and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
University partners include Northwestern University; University of Chicago; University of Illinois-Chicago; University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; and University of Michigan.
Four industrial partners have also joined to help clear a path to the marketplace for the advances developed at JCESR, including Dow Chemical Company; Applied Materials, Inc.; Johnson Controls, Inc.; and Clean Energy Trust.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is providing $5 million through his Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction plan to help build the state-of-the-art JCESR facility, which will be located on the Argonne National Laboratory campus in suburban Chicago. Additionally, the Governor has committed to working with the General Assembly to provide an additional $30 million in future capital funding for the building, which will serve as a nationwide center for energy storage research and is a key part of the governor’s plan to create jobs and grow Illinois’ economy through cutting-edge innovation.
Selected through an open national competition with a rigorous merit review process that relied on outside expert reviewers, JCESR is the fourth Energy Innovation Hub established by the Energy Department since 2010. Other Hubs are devoted to modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors, achieving major improvements in the energy efficiency of buildings, and developing fuels from sunlight. A fifth Hub focused on critical materials research was announced earlier this year and is still in the application process.
Energy Innovation Hubs are major integrated research centers with researchers from many different institutions and technical backgrounds that combine basic and applied research with engineering to accelerate scientific discovery in critical energy areas. They are modeled after the strong scientific management characteristics of the Manhattan Project, Lincoln Lab at MIT that developed radar, AT&T Bell Laboratories that developed the transistor and, more recently, the highly successful Bioenergy Research Centers established during the Bush Administration to pioneer advanced techniques in biotechnology, including biofuels.
Over the decades, DOE national laboratories and DOE-funded university research programs have been responsible for some of the most important advances in battery technology. For example, key battery improvements developed at Argonne helped make the Chevy Volt battery possible.