Government, Universities Join Forces for Battery Technology

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State and federal governments, several universities and a handful of private firms have teamed up to work at advancing battery and energy technologies for the next generation of electric and hybrid cars, the Department of Energy has reported. Here are the details.

* The multi-partner team will establish the batteries and energy storage hub at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago.

* Participating in research program will be scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

* Universities involved in the project include Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, and University of Michigan.

* The Department of Energy reported that industrial partners have "joined to help clear a path to the marketplace for advances developed" including Dow Chemical Company, Applied Materials, Inc., Johnson Controls, Inc., and Clean Energy Trust.

* The hub will integrate the efforts of several independent research programs into a coordinated program "designed to push the limits on battery advances," the Department of Energy reported.

* According to the Department of Energy, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged $5 million to help build the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research on the Argonne campus. The governor has also committed to working with the General Assembly to provide $30 million in additional funding for future capital improvements.

* The Department of Energy will supply $120 million over five years for the establishment of the hub.

* According to the Department of Energy, advancements in batteries and energy storage are part of an effort to build a new energy economy while reducing the U.S. dependence on imported oil. The storage technology is needed to integrate intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar into the electrical grid.

* This will be the fourth energy hub established by the Department of Energy since 2010. Other DOE hubs are devoted to modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors, improving energy efficiency in buildings, and developing fuels from sunlight.

* Applications are currently being accepted for a fifth government-funded hub that will focus on the research of critical materials.

* Researchers at Argonne, the nation's first national laboratory, already work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, federal, state and municipal agencies to help solve specific issues in virtually every scientific discipline. The laboratory is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

* Past work from researchers at Argonne include battery improvements that made the Chevy Volt battery possible.

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