Berkeley Lab Part of Energy Department Team Selected as DOE’s Batteries and Energy Storage Hub

EETD has a major research effort in advanced battery development
November 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy today announced that it was awarding a $120 M Energy Storage Hub to a consortium led by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), with the participation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Scientists in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) of Berkeley Lab will play a lead role in the battery research hub.

Read the Department of Energy press release, and the Berkeley Lab press release below.

Venkat Srinivasan, the Head of EETD's Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Department, notes that the Hub will take a different approach to developing the next generation of batteries.

"The current practice is to pick a particular set of materials for the anode, cathode and electrolyte, and conduct R&D to see how these materials performs in terms of improving the energy density of the battery, cycle life, and other parameters," says Srinivasan. "But this has led to an improvement of only about five percent per year in battery energy density. To meet the energy challenges facing us, we need a revolution in battery energy density, cost, and lifetime."

He adds: "In the hub, we'll be bringing together a diverse group of scientists in chemistry, materials sciences, engineering, computational science, and others—some with battery research experience and some who are new to the field—and we'll focus on the mechanisms of energy storage in batteries. Instead of the specific material focus, we'll look at the mechanism as a whole and ask broad questions that no one has ever asked before. We hope that answering these questions will lead to new battery materials that no one has dreamed of."

Here is the Department of Energy press release:

WASHINGTON-U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu was joined today by Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce that a multi-partner team led by Argonne National Laboratory has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. The Hub, to be known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), will combine the R&D firepower of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving revolutionary advances in battery performance. Advancing next generation battery and energy storage technologies for electric and hybrid cars and the electricity grid are a critical part of President Obama's all-of-the-above energy strategy to reduce America's reliance on foreign oil and lower energy costs for U.S. consumers.

"This is a partnership between world leading scientists and world leading companies, committed to ensuring that the advanced battery technologies the world needs will be invented and built right here in America," said Secretary Chu. "Based on the tremendous advances that have been made in the past few years, there are very good reasons to believe that advanced battery technologies can and will play an increasingly valuable role in strengthening America's energy and economic security by reducing our oil dependence, upgrading our aging power grid, and allowing us to take greater advantage of intermittent energy sources like wind and solar."