Collaborative, Inter-Institutional R&D Transforming US Electric Grid

By: | December 5th, 2014


JCESR (Joint Center for Energy Research) Image Courtesy

Changing The Way We Think About & Use The Electric Grid

The US and the world are in the midst of two major transformations based on a decrease in dependence on fossil fuel energy.

First is building out a new energy sector based on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and second, creating a transportation sector based on electric storage batteries. In order to be successful in both areas within the next five years a new energy storage medium that performs five times better than today’s best commercial lithium-ion batters, at one fifth the cost, is essential.

Nearly 4 years ago the US Department of Energy (DOE) established the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) with a $120 million investment, and tasked it with finding solutions leading to new storage media. In order to transform the sectors the following resources were marshaled:

  1. 5 National Laboratories: Argonne, Lawrence Berklee, Pacific Northwest, Sandia, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
  2. 5 Major Universities: Northwestern, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, Chicago, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the University of Michigan
  3. 4 Private Sector Partners: Applied Materials, Clean Energy Trust, Dow Chemical and Johnson Controls

According to JCESR, the new consortium is focused on major advances in energy storage technologies that include:

  1. Storing energy in liquids – in which solid battery electrodes will be replaced with advanced liquids that charge and discharge as lay flow through the battery.
  2. Storing energy in chemical bonds – developing new materials to store and release electricity from the making and breaking of high-energy chemical bonds.
  3. Increasing energy storage capacity – creating high-energy capacity, high-voltage batteries using “multiply-charged ions” rather than simply charged lithium-ions.

More information on JCESR’s program can be found here.

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David Russell Schilling

David enjoys writing about high technology and its potential to make life better for all who inhabit planet earth.

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