CalCEF, a non-profit umbrella organization that creates institutions and investment vehicles for the clean energy economy, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have formed a partnership to launch CalCharge, a consortium uniting California’s emerging and established battery technology companies with academic and government resources.
By bringing together the dozens of battery companies and institutions in California working on applications for consumer electronics batteries, electric/hybrid vehicle transportation and the electric grid, the two founding partners as well as other San Francisco Bay Area academic institutions aim to create a regional ecosystem for innovation in energy storage.
The next decade will be critical for this industry and this region. With our highly regarded battery scientists and state-of-the-art equipment at Berkeley Lab, the CalCharge consortium will be able to leverage these resources to enable the development of battery solutions for electric transportation and other clean energy applications in California.—Berkeley Lab Director Paul Alivisatos
CalCharge is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership working to accelerate the timeline of energy storage commercialization and market adoption through technology assistance, workforce training and market education. Members will have access to Berkeley Lab’s scientific facilities and personnel, including testing and diagnostics equipment not available to many start-up companies.
CalCharge offers a streamlined and more affordable channel for Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and similar arrangements. These allow firms to access technical resources at the Lab, which will help scale battery innovations from the bench to the market.
More than 30 battery startups and large companies are concentrated in the Bay Area alone. The state has consistently led battery technology patent registrations, reaching 258 filings from 2008 to 2010—more than the next three leading states combined—according to the 2012 California Green Innovation Index, an annual economic filing published by Next 10. In 2011, venture capital investment in energy storage grew thirteen-fold over the previous year, making up 11% of the total VC investment in clean technology for the state.
There’s a lot of battery know-how in California, specifically the Bay Area, but technology startups need an ecosystem to thrive. The Berkeley Lab battery program, long known for its deep expertise in solving the problems in advanced batteries, is ideally positioned to work with battery companies in the region. We look forward to building this ecosystem with CalCharge.—Venkat Srinivasan, head of Berkeley Lab’s energy storage research program
A regional ecosystem for battery development requires contributions from diverse partners, including companies involved in advanced battery technology, customers who will use that technology, and research institutions that can offer expertise and equipment to accelerate development of new technology as well as an educated workforce pool—all supported by local governments that will provide the policies and incentives to foster a regional energy storage industry, the partners said.
CalCEF and Berkeley Lab will present the CalCharge launch at the Silicon Valley Energy Storage Symposium, 30 May.
CalCEF Innovations, a 501(c)(3), leads CalCEF’s analysis and product development, designing real-world solutions—market strategies, business models, and public policies—that rapidly advance clean energy adoption. The California Clean Energy Fund, a 501(c)(4), executes and scales the CalCEF investment strategy via a fund-of-funds model, partnering with leading investment managers.