DOE renews research seeking battery breakthroughs

Source: Peter Behr, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Energy Department yesterday committed $120 million to renew a research project led by the Argonne National Laboratory to construct new storage battery technologies from the bottom up, “atom by atom.”

The five-year grant, announced by DOE Undersecretary for Science Paul Dabbar, aims to invent batteries to supplant the lithium-ion workhorses of today’s digital applications.

“More powerful beyond-lithium-ion batteries will completely transform the power grid, revolutionize electrically powered transportation, and usher in an age of personalized power storage and usage,” the Argonne lab said in a statement.

The grant goes to the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub that pools the work of scientists from national labs, universities and private industry.

“JCESR’s first five years have yielded important science breakthroughs, helped launch three startups … and produced more than 380 published scientific papers,” said JCESR Director George Crabtree.

“The knowledge we’ve gained has introduced new approaches to battery R&D and will guide our research in transformative materials for next-generation batteries for many years in the future,” he added.

The new battery technologies are aimed at improving the resilience of electric grids, the management of distributed energy systems, fast-charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and other goals.

“While energy storage remains the key for all of these applications, no single battery type is capable of filling all the widely varying requirements,” Argonne said.

The mission of the renewed research project is to create the science to “lay the foundation for a diversity