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DOE to award $120M to team led by Argonne National Lab for joint research hub on batteries and energy storage; 5-5-5 goal

30 November 2012

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.

November 30, 2012 in Batteries, Policy, Research | Permalink | Comments (50) | TrackBack (0)

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In my link there's a picture of four of them on an 18 wheeler flat bed trailer. And there's space on the trailer for at least four more.

The image caption says 'seven feet tall' and they are a lot taller than wide.

Double energy, lower cost to 250/Kwh and improve life. But doesn't anyone worry about the displaced industries? I am sure they do (oil and ICEs), and their minions in congress are attacking this industry (EVs and batteries) constantly and without rationally expressed concerns, but rather with exaggerations and lies. I doubt a energy storage hub, especially one at a government lab will stand up to the lies of congress.

Great link Bob, it provides perspective on their size which seems to be reasonable, almost like a big water heater. At 100kW, it would take about 10 of them to be buried at a fueling center to provide enough power for 7 cars with a 20 minute rapid charge simultaneously. If you assume it also had a 1-2 MW grid connection(common for larger strip malls or even a SuperWalmart), then it could handle 15 cars at a time on average and use the flywheels for buffers when demand was high.

Considering that it cost as much as $3 million to build a current gasoline highway "super station", these numbers are not out of bounds for rapid charging. Plus those stations have to have daily deliveries of gas which also goes a long way towards driving up current operating costs.

I'm assuming that a 150kW charger is enough and that these cars have ~50kWh with 150-200 mile ranges. For the near-midterm, I think that's a good assumption and 20 minutes won't kill anyone after driving for 2.5-3 hours so they can stretch and get something to eat.

Displaced industries. The oil industry will slowly fade away if/when we get affordable EVs. It would take at least 20 years to clear our roads of ICEVs. Some of the workers would make the sideways move to renewables along the way. Offshore oil rig workers could move to offshore wind farm work.

Coal miners are the group to be hardest hit. There just aren't ways to create decent jobs in some of those places.

I don't worry too much about Republicans in Congress stopping the move to renewables and EVs. They can slow the move within the US, but this is a global phenomenon. Germany is way ahead of us with solar. Europe is smoking us with off-shore wind. The largest plug-ins are Japanese, Nissan and Toyota. Because of the cost of fuel in Europe we should see those markets switch to electrics very quickly. And the Chinese government is shoving its citizens toward electrics.

It's clear to big business that there is money to be made. GE is firmly in the renewable energy business with both turbines and renewable-friendly gas turbines. IBM is moving into battery technology. US car manufacturers are making electric vehicles. Republican governors are pushing for wind farm support from Congress. New profit sources will push older profit sources aside as it has always been.

Some of the oil companies are already getting involved in batteries and geothermal. As they see their markets on the decline they will shift capital to something more profitable.

"handle 15 cars at a time"

Just trying to think about the number of pumps at some of the I5 stops I use, we might need twice as many chargers when things get 'highly electric'. Assuming ICEVs spend about ten minutes at the pump.

Perhaps two parking spaces per outlet so that one car could be plugged in and waiting while the other finished. That would take care of the problem of someone slow to get back and unplug/move as soon as their car was charged.

You could select a spot next to someone just starting to charge and give yourself 30+ minutes to have a meal.

Give people a five/ten minute warning to get ready to move their car and then charge them heavily if they stay in the spot too long and there are people waiting.

(I just got stuck behind someone who filled up and then decided to make a phone call before exiting the pump. ;o)

"handle 15 cars at a time"

Just trying to think about the number of pumps at some of the I5 stops I use, we might need twice as many chargers when things get 'highly electric'. Assuming ICEVs spend about ten minutes at the pump.

Perhaps two parking spaces per outlet so that one car could be plugged in and waiting while the other finished. That would take care of the problem of someone slow to get back and unplug/move as soon as their car was charged.

You could select a spot next to someone just starting to charge and give yourself 30+ minutes to have a meal.

Give people a five/ten minute warning to get ready to move their car and then charge them heavily if they stay in the spot too long and there are people waiting.

(I just got stuck behind someone who filled up and then decided to make a phone call before exiting the pump. ;o)

I think the model of the "filling station" is obsolete when you don't have a flammable liquid to worry about.  Charging cables can go anywhere you can park a vehicle, not just under one canopy connected to a C-store.  Rest stops, video arcades, book stores, gift shops, nooks with tables for notebook computers and other papers for the on-the-go office worker, playspaces with ball-crawls for people with kids...

I don't see Europe getting very far with wind, sadly.  The intermittency problem is too big, and the Beacon Power flywheels that will buffer the demand surges across an hour or two are pathetically inadequate to handle a lull in wind that lasts for even one day, let alone several.  This requires changes that just don't look feasible to me (personal opinion, point me to data if you think I'm wrong) and the $19 billion projected to bring France's (?) grid up to snuff for new wind farms ought to be a shot of cold water.

I can easily imagine charging places along our highways which resemble places to eat or shop rather than current gas stations. If customers can be held in place for 20 minutes or so then there's good opportunity to sell them something.

We may also see charging places that more resemble the public rest stops along current highways. Places to pee, walk your dog, walk around a little bit. These might charge a bit more for facility upkeep while the retail stops absorb a bit of the cost in order increase their traffic.

--

Speculation about the role of wind in Europe isn't worth a lot unless we have good data on how often and for how long the wind "quits blowing" for the entire continent plus the Atlantic islands and North Africa.

Just because the wind doesn't blow for a while in a restricted area isn't telling if Europe, Iceland, North Africa and parts of the Middle East are wired into one big grid and have a wide variety of inputs including solar, tidal, wave, geothermal, and hydro.

Assuming we soon have 200 mile range EVs and assuming Europeans drive less than the US average of ~35 miles per day then a few days with little or no wind input on a grid that is, perhaps, 40% wind could be endured. Many cars could take a week off from charging if necessary.

If we look at the overnight capital cost of generation there is nothing cheaper than gas turbines and combined cycle gas plants. That might be the best way to provide deep backup, beyond what is reasonable for electricity storage with batteries or pump-up. If you're running them only a few days a year then that's likely a CO2 output we could tolerate. Or we might even figure out how to run them on biogas if need be.

Bob W,
Yeah, I was definitely thinking near-medium term where the population of EVs would fit into the "~15 cars at a time model". As the population grows, they would have to keep adding capacity as the demand increased. Truthfully, they could probably start with 4-5 car capacity in the near term and grow it if we're being realistic.

And that's a great idea about the charges for someone sitting there when they are sitting there occupying a slot once they're finished, especially if they're sitting there making phone calls!!!

It also made me think of something else though...multiple charging ports off one unit so that when one car finishes, another car starts automatically as it winds down charging the first car. This would also let you start to spin one car up as another was in that last ~10% of it's charging where it needs to slow down to keep from damaging the battery.

I usually make the trip from Atlanta to Knoxville because I've got one daughter in engineering up at UT and another heading there next fall. So I tend to think of that trek when I mentally plan how these thing should be laid out geographically LOL

EP,

I totally agree with the traditional "gas station" model going away, especially on interstates. Even today, that trip I make between Atlanta-Knoxville has nothing but "super stations" that have a minimum of 3-4 restaurants at each stop. They have the combos like Pizza Hut/Taco Bell/KFC (Pepsi centered) or McDonald's/Subway (Coke centered) or some other such combo.

This model will become almost the rule, rather than the exception. For local charging, I can see EV charging at Malls, grocery stores, Walmarts, Home Depots, etc. Even in Atlanta, we already have them at places like Whole Foods and a couple of McDonald's I've seen and we don't even have an EV population yet.

It will be a different model where places you normally need to go for 20-60 minutes have charging stations to top off your charge.

We need to remember that charging stations are going to be mostly for long distant day driving. Most people will have a place to park over night and charge. Most likely we'll wire public parking spots as time goes on.

We know, via the GM/Toyota study, that only 15% of all driving days exceed 40 miles. If we have 200 miles of 'bring it from home' range then possibly less than 5% of all cars will need to be charged publicly. One-twentieth as many "pumps" as we now have.

Holiday travel days may be a rub. But we can sort that out as time goes along. Perhaps put a premium on rapid charge stations and drop public transportation costs to get people to take the Maglev.

Bob,

You bring up a good point: What happens when the reality turns out that we don't really NEED 180,000 EV charging locations to match the 180,000 gas stations we have today in the US?

It makes sense that we'll need just as much EV infrastructure on the Highways, perhaps even more considering that we'll have the next generation of EV's dominating for a few years with only a 150-200 mile range.
But what happens with city driving? Easy for people with a garage, but what of people who live in apartments or even homes with no garage. Will they be able to participate in the EV market? Urban areas are the place where we get the most payback from EV's strengths in terms of better range, less pollution, less noise, etc.

Maybe parking garages? I've seen that in London and it actually draws EVs to areas. Just a thought.

Just because the wind doesn't blow for a while in a restricted area isn't telling if Europe, Iceland, North Africa and parts of the Middle East are wired into one big grid and have a wide variety of inputs including solar, tidal, wave, geothermal, and hydro.
That's
  1. handwaving and
  2. doesn't even hint at the costs and risks (technical and political) of trying to wire hundreds of GW of power across thousands of miles and under oceans.
Once you have an organized opposition to the massive power lines required, this whole scheme is dead... and your vision with it.
Assuming we soon have 200 mile range EVs and assuming Europeans drive less than the US average of ~35 miles per day then a few days with little or no wind input on a grid that is, perhaps, 40% wind could be endured.
I already did a calculation of how many Opel Amperas it would take to buffer Germany's current PV-generated power peak.  The answer was about 40 million of them, and PV comes nowhere close to supplying Germany's total electric energy demand (different from instantaneous peak power).  If you intend to use traction batteries as the power storage to supply heat (carbon-free; heat pumps?) and lights in a windless winter cold snap, even a 200-mile battery is not going to last long.  Blithely throwing such words around shows you haven't run calculations and don't understand the sheer magnitude of the problem.

I have run the calculations, which is one of many reasons I think France, and Germany, and Italy, and the rest of the OECD should be on a massive nuclear-building binge.

If we look at the overnight capital cost of generation there is nothing cheaper than gas turbines and combined cycle gas plants.
And if you look at the long-term fuel, environmental and political/strategic costs, you realize that few things could be more costly.
That might be the best way to provide deep backup
All of that effort, just to avoid the word "uranium".

Kelly goes the alarmist route...

...they would require enormous investment into infrustructure and power price for such charging would be ten fold. It would be more crasy project than hydrogen highway.

600 kW is peanuts, but you have to connect to a medium tension line, say 10 or 20 kV. It can easily deliver the 600 kW. How much do you think an aluminium smelter draws? An average Walmart?

You can not just plug in a 600 kW charger into any wall outlet, but to think that the grid will somehow melt and needs serious investment is a notion that has ignorance as its mother.

And the power price will not be tenfold, large consumers pay less per kWh, not more. A 1 or 2 MW connection ( to allow more than 1 such fast charger) will cost more in fixed monthly fees. As long as the fast charger is frequently used, those monthly fees will be divided over a lot of motorists. You see - there is no problem.

As a last reminder, Tesla's superchargers draw 100 kW

Anne is correct. Your average Walmart or strip mall can easily pull 1MW or more. That is common on the grid and I'm sure the power companies would love the chance to collect a little more revenue...especially if it's fairly predictable.

The question comes down to what is the most cost effective mix: spec'ing the charging station's grid connection to handle peak loads or doing something like the flywheels to handle peaks.

"But what happens with city driving? Easy for people with a garage, but what of people who live in apartments or even homes with no garage. Will they be able to participate in the EV market?"

I think it's San Franciso which is requiring new multiple tenant construction to install conduit from the electric service box to parking spaces. If/when demand for charging appears then it's easy to pull wire.

Apartments that offer EV parking will likely be able to charge a bit more per month plus charge a small charging fee. Charging should be an income source for the building's owner.

I can imagine urban areas taking, perhaps, one side of every third block/something limited and installing metered 120 vac outlets. Reserved parking for EVs. When demand fills those up then wire another block.

Metering systems that bill the car owner should be cheap to build if manufactured in large quantities. A way for the car to identify itself to the meter and request a particular amount of charge. A way for the meter to talk to a central computer to OK the purchase and allow power to be turned on/off.

E-P, I have no interest in getting into another exchange with you about how nuclear is the only answer.

Fact is, nuclear is not the answer at this time. There are cheaper ways to power the grid and what to build decisions are being made basically on cost.

If conditions change, e.g., high carbon prices are implemented and no viable storage solutions appear, then perhaps nuclear might have a future.

"What happens when the reality turns out that we don't really NEED 180,000 EV charging locations to match the 180,000 gas stations we have today in the US?"

Americans loose weight?

Gas stations make very little money selling gas, they make money on the convenience foods people buy when they stop.

If ~95% of our "fueling up" is done when parked people may eat less junk food.

Or may have more time at home to eat junk food....

I have no interest in getting into another exchange with you about how nuclear is the only answer.
You're going to admit that I'm right?  Great!

FWIW, I never said nuclear is the only answer.  I said that there's no way that wind and solar can be the answer without massive improvements in the capacity and cost of storage.  This is obvious with a little bit of number-crunching.  There are RE technologies which incorporate storage, such as torrefaction and biochar.  These can feed direct-carbon fuel cells; unfortunately, the biomass supply is very limited and there are multiple competing uses.  Wind fits very well in places like Kodiak island and Aruba, where the other energy supply is hydropower or oil.

nuclear is not the answer at this time. There are cheaper ways to power the grid and what to build decisions are being made basically on cost.
Nuclear started out cheaper than coal in the 1960's; it was punitive regulation which created today's absurd cost structure.  Fix the regulatory system and the problem you complain about will go away.

If you consider gas to be "cheaper" than nuclear, you are ignoring the externalized costs.

If conditions change, e.g., high carbon prices are implemented and no viable storage solutions appear, then perhaps nuclear might have a future.
Storage favors nuclear too; it allows nuclear power to be used for peaking as well as base load.  The Ludington pumped storage installation was built so that the output of the Palisades nuclear power plant could be time-shifted to peak hours.

It's faster to amortize a storage system that's cycled once per day than one that cycles once per week; once or twice per year, forget it.  Storage works better with nuclear just because nuclear plants like to run flat-out 24/7 and every night can create a surplus which feeds storage.

Nuke power is the one type of power where we are in danger NOT the planet and not wildlife. In fact if the worst happens its a boon to wildlife not a bain.

But we are too chikenbleep to do it not because we care about nature or the planet but simply because we are cowards. Fat lazy cowards.

Not even humans are in particular danger from failures of radiation containment.  The projected number of fatalities from Fukushima is approximately zero, and Rod Adams has recently published links to research about Chernobyl which finds that there was even a DECREASE in illnesses among cleanup workers exposed to intermediate levels of radiation.  Some area people who refused to leave the Chernobyl evacuation zone remain there to this day, and are in better health than those who upped stakes.

Twenty-eight emergency workers ("liquidators") died from acute radiation syndrome including beta burns at Chernobyl.

Thyroid cancer rates are very elevated among children in the Chernobyl area but since thyroid cancer is very treatable few deaths are expected.

Projections are that there may be a few hundred cases of cancer and/or death resulting from the Fukushima meltdown. It will take some years before the effects are fully known.

But, hey, don't let a few deaths and a lot of cases of cancer convince you that nuclear power is dangerous.

Just close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and whistle loudly....

Actauly the ...accident.. at chernobyl didnt kill anyone.. it was the idiots after the accident that killed a bloody hell of alot of people.. same in fukushima.. the accident itself didnt kill anyone the morons in charge killed god knows how many.

Folks can argue all they like whether the deaths following Chernobyl and Fukushima fit into one category or another.

The real point is that nuclear energy is dangerous in ways totally unlike any other methodology for generating electricity.

And since we know that nuclear is an expensive, slow to bring on line, and difficult to site technology there's no reason to create danger where none is needed.

Build generation which is cheaper, faster to bring on line, and is inherently safer.


Twenty-eight emergency workers ("liquidators") died from acute radiation syndrome including beta burns at Chernobyl.
The Soviets also drove human waves into German machine gun fire.  On the other hand, it's worth comparing the figure of 28 to the expected number of premature deaths from lung disease if the electricity from Chernobyl had instead been generated by burning coal.
Thyroid cancer rates are very elevated among children in the Chernobyl area but since thyroid cancer is very treatable few deaths are expected.
And most would have avoided if potassium iodide had been distributed in a timely fashion.
The real point is that nuclear energy is dangerous in ways totally unlike any other methodology for generating electricity.
I'm glad you mentioned this, because the danger appears to be negative for a considerable range of exposure above zero:
Aside: Here is a quote from page 12 of the report that explains the “anomalous” dose-response of that group of 20. “However, preliminary analysis identified a significant (p=0.021) difference in the dose-response for 20 cases (6 non-CLL and 14 CLL) with direct in-person interviews <2 years from start of chemotherapy compared with other cases (ERR/Gy= -0.47, 95% CI: <-0.47, 1.02, p=0.244 for 20 cases vs.ERR/Gy=2.38, 95%CI: 0.49, 5.87, p=0.004 for the remaining 117 cases, Table 2 and Supplemental Material, Table S2). Due to this marked disparity, we limited our primary analyses to cases who were interviewed 2-15 years after start of chemotherapy, did not have chemotherapy, or for whom proxy interviews were used and their matched controls (85% of all cases and 83% of all controls)." (Emphasis added. A negative number in ERR/Gy indicates a positive health response to increased radiation. Hmmm.) End Aside.
It is extremely unusual for a "danger" of an energy source to be less than zero under any circumstances, but nuclear is unique.

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