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Energy Dept Seeks $20M Battery/Storage Research Hub

Lightning strike (Les Chatfield/Flickr)The Department of Energy (DoE) says it will open competition for a new research center to speed development of advanced battery and energy storage technologies. The new energy innovation hub, as these programs are called, will have up to $20 million in funding in the current (2012) fiscal year.

Energy innovation hubs bring together researchers from academia, industry, and government laboratories that cut across scientific and engineering disciplines to focus on a specific class of energy-related issues, patterned after programs such as the Lincoln Lab at MIT and AT&T Bell Laboratories. This initiative, says DoE, covers research and development of electrochemical energy storage for transportation and the electric grid. The current three energy innovation hubs deal with developing fuels directly from sunlight, improving nuclear reactors through computer-based modeling, and energy efficient building design.

The Batteries and Energy Storage Hub will be asked to break through current limitations on electrochemical energy storage and reduce the risks for industry to take the ideas discovered by the hub and deploy new technologies in the marketplace. The research center is expected to explore new materials, devices, systems, and new processes for transportation and utility-scale storage. DoE also expects the hub to encourage new energy storage designs and come up with prototype devices that demonstrate new methods for electrochemical storage that reduce complexity and cost.

Universities, national laboratories, not-for-profit organizations, and private companies are eligible to compete for the Batteries and Energy Storage Hub and can form partnerships when submitting their proposals. Letters of intent are due on 1 March, with full applications due on 31 May 2012. Award selection is expected this summer.

Read more: DoE Science Review Boosts Transport, Grid, Quicker Payoffs

Photo: Les Chatfield/Flickr

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