In the News 2016

Energy Matters
February 23, 2017
A team of chemists from Utah and Michigan Universities have developed a charge-storing molecule that they say is 1,000 times more stable than the compounds currently used in flow battery systems.
Engineering & Technology
February 22, 2017
The success of electric cars is ultimately defined by their batteries. We are reaching a point where the multifaceted trade-offs between cost, safety, range and the speed and accessibility of charging are starting to seriously impress, but can the breakthroughs continue?
Phys.org
February 21, 2017
Chemists at University of Utah and University of Michigan use a predictive model to develop a charge-storing molecule around 1,000 times more stable than current compounds, as reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
Science Friday
February 17, 2017
Will any new battery chemistries approach the success of lithium ion? Electric vehicle advocate and blogger Chelsea Sexton joins George Crabtree, JCESR director, to discuss potential successors to the popular lithium ion battery.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
February 14, 2017
JCESR has been working toward the goal of developing batteries that are five times as powerful but cost five times less than battery technology did when the center started. Many in the industry scoffed at the idea that those goals could be met within five years, but the energy storage center is working to do just that.
Science News
January 9, 2017
New chemistries and designs promise to take batteries into the 21st century to store energy from solar and wind farms and send energy to homes and businesses. In late 2017, JCESR scientists will introduce prototype batteries to be developed by manufacturers for potential commercialization. Some contain new ingredients — sulfur and magnesium — that help store energy more efficiently, delivering power for longer periods. Others will employ new designs.
insideHPC
December 29, 2016
In this video from SC16, Kristin Persson from UC Berkeley presents: The Materials Project – A Google of Materials.
HybridCars.com
December 28, 2016
The year 2016 saw the first 200-mile range electric car for under $40,000 and 2017 is expected to witness a few more as the cost of Li-ion continues to come down faster than many predicted.
Energy.gov
December 22, 2016
On a recent visit to Argonne, Secretary Moniz gave an example of the sometimes surprising ways the research at our National Labs is making a difference… using battery membranes for water purification.
Solar + Power Management
December 19, 2016
Energy storage has become increasingly favored by investors. For the first time in late 2016, venture capitalists pulled money away from other markets to fund a variety of storage-related companies. At the same time established global manufacturers expanded their commitments to battery technologies while increasing production capacity.
Inc.
December 17, 2016
The notion of a lone genius has always been a myth. Innovations are combinations, so it is unlikely that anyone ever has all the pieces to the puzzle. Now, because of digital technology, the ability to collaborate is becoming a key competitive advantage.
HybridCars.com
December 15, 2016
Just when automakers are hunkering down to mass produce electric cars with good-enough lithium-ion batteries, a federally funded “dream team” of researchers says in one year its lithium-sulfur prototype may have triple the energy density of the best available today.
Forbes
December 5, 2016
After studying more than 22,500 ingredients for batteries, Energy Department researchers with JCESR have settled on two prototypes they believe can surpass lithium-ion at much lower cost, the project’s director announced.
EETimes Europe
December 5, 2016
After four years of evaluation, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) in the US is backing two key technologies for the future of battery systems.
The Economist
November 26, 2016
JCESR scientists test different battery materials, including anodes, cathodes and electrolytes, in an effort to produce safer and more efficient batteries.
BBC World Service
November 19, 2016
JCESR talks with BBC, discusses how much electricity it takes to run the average home for 24 hours. Also, when will it be economical to locally store several days of electric energy for our home?
EIN Newsdesk
November 9, 2016
Next-generation lithium-sulfur batteries can potentially reduce costs as well as fire and environmental risks, compared to other battery technologies, and Berkeley Lab researchers have developed polymer membranes that enable extended battery-cycle life.
Gazette
November 5, 2016
At a recent “Jobs and the Labor Force of Tomorrow” panel during the Urban Forum hosted by the University of Illinois at Chicago, panelists discussed the many jobs that no longer require humans and ways job seekers need to adjust.
Fastco Design
November 1, 2016
Tesla has a remarkable, feasible vision for the future of energy. The company is chasing the same future its competitors are chasing, making our battery-powered grid inevitable. It’s only a question of when.
CNBC
October 27, 2016
The striking and swift evolution of cell phones from cumbersome bricks to sleek, powerful devices owes a lot to the development of the lithium-ion batteries used to charge them up. Next-generation batteries could bring the kind of change to the electricity grid that we’ve seen in telephones.
WAER
October 21, 2016
Held by New York Best, the Energy Storage Technology conference brought together some of the best researchers on energy storage systems in the world. George Crabtree, JCESR director, said they’re investigating next-gen batteries, which he said are the driver of the transformation of the grid.
National Defense Magazine
October 20, 2016
While hybrid and electric engines are becoming commonplace for cars and trucks, that is not the case for aircraft. However, basic and applied research on all-electric, turbo-electric and hybrid power sources for aircraft is ongoing in civilian agencies such as NASA, the private sector and at least in one Defense Department program.
AZoM
October 19, 2016
A group of researchers from the University of Michigan have observed the dendrites that usually grow under cover of darkness in a closed cell by cutting a window in a battery and filming them. Instead of using the lithium-ion battery, researchers used a next-generation lithium metal battery to perform this study.
Michigan News
October 18, 2016
While dendrites are widely known to be a problem in lithium metal batteries, their role in causing problems in Li-ion batteries is less understood. JCESR scientists at University of Michigan and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory recently published findings based on improved monitoring of dendrites.
Forbes
October 16, 2016
Every year, we can store more energy in a smaller space for lower cost. Without the improvement in batteries alone, our devices would be roughly six times larger and much more expensive. But better batteries will be needed for continued innovation.
Council on Foreign Relations
October 11, 2016
For seventy years, Argonne has hosted cutting-edge scientific research. Researchers at Argonne-led JCESR believe lithium-sulfur will enable cheaper and longer-range electric vehicles that strike the right balance between feasibility of commercialization and better performance.
Technology Today
October 10, 2016
More than 50 people attended a battery research workshop sponsored by the University of California and held at Berkeley Lab. Its purpose was to explore what role researchers in the UC system can play in bridging the gap between science research and technology deployment of new batteries.
China Daily
October 3, 2016
Getting intelligent connected vehicles to be more widely applied in China’s automobile market will be essential to helping the industry progress in the future, experts emphasized during the four-day Pujiang Innovation Forum.
Consumer Reports
September 21, 2016
Many lithium-ion safety issues are caused by a manufacturing defect, but the underlying issue is that lithium-ion batteries contain a lot of energy in a compact package—which, of course, is why they are used in everything from phones to electric vehicles.
Midwest Energy News
September 6, 2016
Midwest Energy News discussed the future of batteries and JCESR with George Crabtree on the sidelines of the recent Energy Storage Conference, hosted by Illinois State University and Argonne.
Wired
September 2, 2016
The vast majority of the time, batteries charge and discharge without complications. But when complications do happen, it can get very bad, very quickly. A “low-quality” battery, one where impurities sneak in, can also be responsible for unpredictable results.
Shorewood Patch
August 26, 2016
In August, students from Joliet Township High Schools participated in the annual “Building a Better Battery” all-day educational event, hosted by JCESR at Argonne. The experience allowed students to explore and embrace the possibilities of science and engineering in an exciting and collaborative way.
Nanowerk
August 17, 2016
For the first time, researchers led by the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research have directly observed structural and chemical information at the molecular level in an operating lithium-ion battery.
Nanowerk
August 17, 2016
JCESR researchers are working on a battery electrode composed of manganese oxide, magnesium ions with two positive charges. These could provide two electrons per intercalated ion—twice the electrical current if present at the same density—without irreversible distortion of the electrode material.
Forbes
August 12, 2016
Look back to the year 2001 and it’s hard to imagine how different the world was. If the progress since then seems incredible, strap yourself in, because the change over the next 15 years in energy storage and other areas will be far more fundamental and pervasive.
His Current Quest
The University of Chicago Magazine
August 5, 2016
At 94, John B. Goodenough, the father of the lithium-ion battery, is still hard at work in battery research. In addition to his own research at UT-Austin, Goodenough recently offered insightful suggestions at a recent JCESR advisory board meeting.
As Tesla Gigafactory Officially Opens, What’s the Future for Lithium Batteries?
Southern California Public Radio – KPCC
July 28, 2016
As Tesla opens its new gigafactory, battery experts discuss the future of lithium ion and the impact of next-generation batteries.
Only the Good Shall Pass: Battery with a Built-in Bouncer
Nanowerk
July 28, 2016
Battery designs using commercially available membranes often fail because the active species move from one side of the battery to the other. JCESR researchers use molecular dynamics simulations to inform the design of membranes with controlled porosity to make them more selective in what will pass through the pores.
Heading into the Political Season, We Need to Think Seriously About What Drives Innovation
Forbes
July 24, 2016
Government programs have helped advance new discoveries to the point where they can attract private funding. One such program that is creating a new breed of innovators, JCESR at Argonne, is building next-generation batteries.
Auto Industry Investment in Advanced Batteries is Just the Jolt Chicago Needs
Crain’s Chicago Business
June 22, 2016
There’s reason to hope Chicago will secure a place in battery research and commercialization. Sure, battery research is going on all over the world. But as of yet, no epicenter of advanced battery technology has emerged. This isn’t information technology, where Silicon Valley dominates and probably always will.
Grid-scale Batteries Gain Ground, Research Continues to Seek Lower Cost
Houston Chronicle
June 21, 2016
As large-scale battery projects increase around the country and research matures, a commercially viable means of storing the large volumes of electricity demanded by the power grid now appears to be in sight.
Technology Progresses when Business, Government, and Academia Work Together
Harvard Business Review
June 16, 2016
New organizations have risen up to solve our toughest problems. The key to making these organizations work is integrating the work of discovery-driven researchers, applied scientists, and engineers in the private sector.
Massive Trove of Battery and Molecule Data Released to Public
Nanowerk
June 9, 2016
The Materials Project, a Google-like database of material properties aimed at accelerating innovation, has released an enormous trove of data to the public, giving scientists working on batteries, fuel cells, photovoltaics, thermoelectrics, and a host of other advanced materials a powerful tool to explore new research avenues.
New Concept Turns Battery Technology Upside-Down
MIT News
May 25, 2016
A new approach to the design of a liquid battery using a passive, gravity-fed arrangement similar to an old-fashioned hourglass, could offer great advantages due to the system’s low cost and the simplicity of its design and operation.
Military’s Push into Tech Provides Unique Opportunity for Chicago
ChicagoInno
May 20, 2016
A recent push by the Department of Defense to engage the tech community provides a unique opportunity to engage Chicago’s most powerful centers of innovation and sharply grow the market size of our regional digital economy.
Technology: Positive Chemistry
Investment & Pensions Europe
May 2016
Advances in battery science and the technology that controls battery power are opening new frontiers in transportation and electrical generation – and JCESR is ground zero for battery science.
Cleaning up Hybrid Battery Electrodes Improves Capacity and Lifespan: New Way of Building Supercapacitor-Battery Electrodes Eliminates Interference from Inactive Components
Nanotechnology Now
April 22, 2016
Hybrid batteries that charge faster than conventional ones could have significantly better electrical capacity and long-term stability when prepared with a gentle-sounding way of making electrodes.
Why Energy Storage May Be the Most Important Technology in the World Right Now
Forbes
April 1, 2016
While there has been enormous progress, lithium-ion batteries are still too expensive to displace conventional technologies such as gasoline engines for cars and gas turbines for electricity. Prices need to fall by an additional 50-80 percent to be economically compelling for cars and the grid.
Lithium Hoarding Behind Failure of Promising New Battery
Phys.org
March 31, 2016
Ever worry that your cell phone or electric car will fade when you need it most? Lightweight lithium-sulfur batteries could be the answer, holding two times the energy of those on store shelves, but they often fade and won’t hold a charge for long. JCESR scientists at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory identified one of the reasons behind this problem.
PNNL Study Identifies One of the Mechanisms Behind Li-Sulfur Battery Capacity Fade; the Importance of Electrolyte Anion Selection
Green Car Congress
March 31, 2016
JCESR researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory investigating the stability of the anode/electrolyte interface in Li-Sulfur batteries have found that Li-S batteries using LiTFSI-based electrolytes are more stable than those using LiFSI-based electrolytes.
Pushing Boundaries
Nanowerk News
March 4, 2016
Boundaries can set limits or offer opportunities. At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, studies of critical reactions at interfaces between solids and liquids provide insights into battery systems.
If You Want to Innovate, Learn these 9 Rules
Forbes.com
February 28, 2016
Collaboration is the new competitive advantage. When we look back to the great innovations of the past, it is hard not to wonder how it could’ve gone differently. And now, the problems we seek to solve are significantly more complex than in earlier generations.
Tesla: Battery Storage is not just about Electric Vehicles
Building Design & Construction
February 5, 2016
A convergence of events is making batteries affordable and even desirable as catalysts for nudging consumers, industries, and nations from carboncentric energy consumption.
A New Generation
Lab Manager
February 4, 2016
Laboratories are moving to more flexibility for workers, opportunities to work remotely, better work-life balance, and greater cultural awareness – to address expectations of early-career millennials, an increasingly dominant segment of the workforce.
Meet 5 People Who’ll Change how you go from Here to There
Greenwire
January 21, 2016
George Crabtree, whose team at JCESR has been looking for the next-generation battery, is one of five people featured – who are working to transform transportation.
A Rechargeable Calcium-Ion Battery
Chemical & Engineering News
January 12, 2016
It could take several years to create a calcium-ion battery suitable for use in cars or cell phones, but JCESR’s proof-of-concept study suggests a calcium battery is a viable technology.
Technology: Future Travel Right Now
National Geographic Traveller
January 13, 2016
There was a time not so long ago when the cutting edge in travel technology was trains, planes and automobiles. A host of more hidden technologies are changing our travel habits altogether, including smart phones, which require better batteries.
Revolutionizing Battery Storage Key to Fast Tracking Renewables
EcoWatch
January 12, 2016
The grid has not changed much since the days of Thomas Edison, George Crabtree, senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, told PBS’s The Good Stuff. While other industries have made dramatic advances in the last century, he said, the electrical grid has remained largely the same.
The Frontiers of Energy
Nature Energy
January 11, 2016
In this feature, ten leading experts in energy research, including JCESR’s George Crabtree, share their vision of what challenges their respective fields need to address in the coming decades.

Latest Updates

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  • Search for the Super Battery

    We live in an age when technological innovation seems to be limitlessly soaring. But for all the satisfying speed with which our gadgets have improved, many of them share a frustrating weakness: the batteries. Aired on February 1, 2017, this NOVA program entitled … Read More

  • Director's Message -- 2016

    It seems only yesterday we launched the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), but in reality, it was nearly four years ago. Our vision was bold: high-performance, low-cost electricity storage that would lead to widespread deployment of electric vehicles and transformation of the … Read More

  • Energy Storage Has the Potential to Change the Way We Live

    This CNBC Special Report discusses how the striking and swift evolution of cell phones from cumbersome bricks to sleek, powerful devices was possible because of the lithium-ion batteries used to charge them up. Next-gen batteries could bring the kind of change we’ve seen in telephones … Read More

  • Scientific Sprints: Speed Through Collaboration

    As an innovative twist on traditional project management, JCESR conducts “Sprints,” small teams of dedicated researchers formed to solve a select research challenge within 1-6 months. Using the Sprint approach, JCESR takes a single question from our catalog of prioritized scientific challenges and dedicates a … Read More

  • Energy Storage: George Crabtree

    George Crabtree, JCESR Director, discusses the importance of developing the next generation of batteries and how that could help transform transportation and the electricity grid. Read More