This article was authored by Joseph E. Harmon and first published by Argonne National Laboratory.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced its decision to renew the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub led by Argonne National Laboratory and focused on advancing battery science and technology.
The announcement was made by DOE Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar at the InnovationXLab Energy Storage Summit held at DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
DOE plans annual funding for JCESR of $24 million, for a total of $120 million over the five-year renewal period.
“Advances in energy storage will drive U.S. prosperity and security,” said Argonne Director Paul Kearns. “By enabling partners across the national labs, academia and industry to forge collaborations and leverage one-of-kind scientific tools, JCESR will continue taking on profound scientific and technological challenges and fueling the innovation that will secure our energy future.”
“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,” — George Crabtree, JCESR Director
Established in late 2012, JCESR is a partnership made up of national laboratories, universities and an industrial firm. Its mission is to create game-changing, next-generation energy storage technologies that will transform transportation and the electric grid in the same way lithium-ion batteries transformed personal electronics.
“JCESR’s first five years have yielded important science breakthroughs, helped launch three startups — Blue Current, Sepion and Form Energy — 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.”
In addition, using computational methods, JCESR researchers screened over 24,000 potential electrolyte and electrode compounds to help accelerate the search for new battery architectures, data that was made publicly available to the broader battery research community.
In the next five years, JCESR’s vision is to create disruptive new materials deliberately constructed from the bottom up, where each atom or molecule has a prescribed role in producing targeted overall materials behavior.
Future JCESR research will be aimed at energy storage technology for a host of emerging applications, including resilient future electric grids, distributed energy management for more reliable and efficient energy delivery under all conditions, fast-charging electric vehicles and even regional electric flight. While energy storage remains the key for all of these applications, no single battery type is capable of filling all the widely varying requirements.
What is needed, according to Crabtree, is a range of designer batteries, each tailored to the requirements of its host application. At the same time, each of these designer batteries must perform multiple, often competing tasks such as frequent cycling and long life, high energy density and slow self-discharge, or fast charging with little or no safety risk. The mission of the renewed JCESR is to create the science to, in the words of Crabtree, “lay the foundation for a diversity of next-generation batteries for a diversity of uses.”
The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), a DOE Energy Innovation Hub, is a major partnership that integrates researchers from many disciplines to overcome critical scientific and technical barriers and create new breakthrough energy storage technology. Led by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, partners include national leaders in science and engineering from academia, the private sector, and national laboratories. Their combined expertise spans the full range of the technology-development pipeline from basic research to prototype development to product engineering to market delivery.
Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://energy.gov/science.