DOE, partners to build energy storage research hub at Argonne lab

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu joined with Senator Dick Durbin, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to announce that a multi-partner team led by Argonne National Laboratory has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub.

The Hub, to be known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), will combine the R&D firepower of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms in an effort aimed at achieving revolutionary advances in battery performance.

Gov. Quinn is providing $5 million through his Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction plan to help build the JCESR facility, which will be located on the Argonne National Laboratory campus in suburban Chicago.

Additionally, the governor has committed to working with the general assembly to provide an additional $30 million in future capital funding for the building, which will serve as a nationwide center for energy storage research and is a key part of the governor’s plan to create jobs and grow Illinois’ economy through cutting-edge innovation.

The new Hub will integrate efforts at several successful independent research programs into a larger, coordinated effort designed to push the limits on battery advances. Advancements in batteries and energy storage technology are essential for continued efforts to develop a fundamentally new energy economy with decisively reduced dependence on imported oil.

Improved storage will be vital to fully integrating intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar into the electrical grid. It will also be critical to transitioning the transportation sector to more flexible grid power.

JCESR (pronounced “J-Caesar”) will be directed by George W. Crabtree, Argonne Senior Scientist, Distinguished Fellow and Associate Division Director; Distinguished Professor of Physics, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago; and an internationally recognized leader in energy research.

The Hub will bring together some of the most advanced energy storage research programs in the U.S. today. Other national labs partnering with Argonne include Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. University partners include Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign,and University of Michigan. Four industrial partners have also joined to help clear a path to the marketplace for the advances developed at JCESR, including Dow Chemical Co.; Applied Materials, Inc.; Johnson Controls, Inc.; and Clean Energy Trust.

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