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

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy 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.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid