News / Science & Technology

Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Futurei
X
Kane Farabaugh
July 21, 2014 1:30 AM
In 2012, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research brings together scientists and engineers from government, national laboratories, and industry to provide them with the tools, funding, and space to make the next technological breakthrough in energy storage.
Kane Farabaugh

In 2012, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research brings together scientists and engineers from government, national laboratories, and industry to provide them with the tools, funding, and space to make the next technological breakthrough in energy storage.

Smaller. Lighter. Longer Lasting. That's what consumers want in the batteries they use to power personal electronics.

At the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, or J-CESR, researchers hope to meet the demand.

This is the birthplace of the lithium ion battery technology, but J-CESR scientists and engineers have bigger - and smaller - goals in mind.

“Five times the energy density at one fifth the cost.” And all this is five years, accrdoing to deputy director Jeffrey Chamberlain.  Cell phones, he says, are the devices where consumers will first notice a change.

“So instead of charging it every day, they might be able to charge it every few days or every week.  Or instead of having certain power and capability, they might be able to get to a kind of power that might be unimagined,” says he.

Chamberlain says the ultimate goal is to change the worldwide automotive market.

“The bigger mission we are on is trying to store energy in a way that is cost-effective and safe so that we can compete directly with the internal combustion engine using electricity or electric transport,” says Chamberlain.

Argonne’s Energy Systems Division Director Don Hillebrand says more power for personal electronics is an easy sell - but consumers demand change when it comes to cars.

“Some consumers want an all-electric vehicle.  The big debate right now is how many of them are there?  That number changes based on how much gasoline costs.  Really at what point does gasoline get expensive enough that it drives more people into wanting all-electrics?” – asks Hillebrand.

Hillebrand says the sales figures this year - about ten thousand electric vehicles sold per month in the United States - is below industry expectations, but the battery the center is developing could change the picture.

“It’s showing steady growth as we go forward.  That number needs to be ten times bigger for us to really say that this program has been a success, and getting to that ten times is really tied to getting the battery to what we need it to be,” says Hillebrand.

But if that battery development is successful, and sales of electric powered vehicles take off, there will be increased demand on the existing power grid to recharge those batteries - a problem the scientists and researchers at J-CESR are also tackling by developing a large scale battery for the grid.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Donn from: Caldwell
July 21, 2014 11:05 PM
Put your batter in cars and you'll have 20X the number of EV cars sold. Just about all of us are willing to pay a little more upfront to untether ourselves from the oil monsters! May the day come speedily!

by: Alouisis from: LA
July 21, 2014 5:36 PM
The end game is not autos, it is home and commercial battery arrays refreshed via solar. This accomplishes the reduction of oil dependence, an aging inadequate electrical grid, and the cost of generating energy on an ongoing basis.

by: John Frey from: Kingsport TN
July 21, 2014 3:57 PM
I have to keep on saying this- the large number of vehicles plugged in at night (and to some extent during the day) will act as grid storage with existing technology. They will give and take from the grid based on programmed need and cost. We currently have way too much capacity across the nation at night, and idling power plants that can easily meet need more efficiently than at present. I drive two electrics, best cars ever. We don't need to directly compete on price, but in 3 years, electrics will have lower lifetime costs than gas cars.

by: Cranksy from: USA
July 21, 2014 10:59 AM
Aren't there resourceful persons and organizations who oppose this project because it is advantageous to them the way things are?

What would recharge the large scale batteries that aid the grid in recharging the other batteries?


by: Kenrm from: Cleveland
July 21, 2014 12:07 AM
Pretty bold statement to make about having a battery of that advancement in 5 years, when the product is not yet in hand. Or is that just PR to get more government funding?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs