Department of Energy Secretary Chu has championed the idea of “innovation hubs” centered around advancing research with an eye toward commercialization. So far he’s managed to get Congress to authorize five, including one for energy efficient building designs and one working on developing fuels from sunlight.
The latest, announced today, is critical to renewable energy and EVs. It will focus on energy storage and be housed at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemon, Illinois. Battery storage remains a critical piece of solving intermittency problems related to wind and solar power, and a significant advancement would revolutionize the automotive space, effectively eliminating range anxiety.
The history of battery advancement isn’t pretty with many failures due to insufficient breakthroughs (A123 Systems) combined with tremendous difficult reaching economies of scale for production, a problem made worse by 3 decades of East Asian competition. That said, energy storage is of the highest priority and would unlock a lot of renewable energy solutions to slow climate change. The project will get $120 million over 5 years.