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 Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More