New research in clean energy storage could bring night-time solar power

A cutting-edge collaboration among DuPont, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Bosch, and 3M was just awarded a grant for $1.6 million by the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E to develop a longer-lasting, less expensive way to store clean energy. This technology is aimed at improving the operation of the electric grid through the temporary storage of electrical energy with a new battery system.

(August 2, 2010) — A cutting-edge collaboration among DuPont, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Bosch, and 3M was just awarded a grant for $1.6 million by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop a longer-lasting, less expensive way to store clean energy. This technology is aimed at improving the operation of the electric grid through the temporary storage of electrical energy with a new battery system.

The collaborators say, “What if the energy generated from solar panels could be used even after the sun went down? What if energy from wind farms could be used on days when Mother Nature decided to be still? Imagine if we could prevent blackouts on peak days by storing clean energy in advance. All of these could be possible with innovations in green energy storage. It’s a key to putting clean technologies on par with existing fossil fuel-based power, and securing the world’s energy future.”

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“At DuPont, we continue to collaborate and investigate new ways to advance renewable energy,” said Steven Freilich, director, DuPont Materials Science and Engineering. “This program is an exciting opportunity to further advance in materials science and build on our membrane technology experience in fuel cells. These new batteries will be able to store and provide energy on demand — eventually eliminating fluctuations in our power systems.”

The collaboration of the partners is a critical element of the program’s path to success. “This ARPA-E funding provides us an opportunity to combine our strengths in batteries and fuel cells and work on an important new area, which is grid-scale storage,” said Venkat Srinivasan, scientist – Berkeley Lab, lead investigator for the project. “We believe we have a very promising solution to the storage problems for grid applications, and this will provide the seed funding required to bring our research to fruition.”

The collective goal is the same as ARPA-E – the project hopes to contribute to innovations in technology that allow for better energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new battery system will improve the reliability of current electric power transmission, enhance energy efficiency, and reduce future emissions of greenhouse gases.

“Bosch views stationary energy storage as one of the important enabling technologies for larger penetration of renewable energy sources into the national electricity grid,” said Dr. Horst Muenzel, regional president – Bosch Corporate Research North America. “Bosch is very appreciative of the opportunity to contribute to a technology that we hope will improve the national grid and allow for a larger share of electrical energy to be derived from green sources.”

In a world where energy consumption will increase by 60% in the next 25 years, the development of technology for clean energy that lessens our dependence on fossil fuels is a must. The collaborative science in this program will help accelerate the growth of these technologies, make them cost competitive and create green jobs along the way.

The work will be carried out at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, CA; Bosch in Palo Alto, CA and Cambridge, MA; DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, DE; and facilities at 3M.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides solutions to the world’s most urgent scientific challenges including clean energy, climate change, human health, and a better understanding of matter and force in the universe. Visit the website at www.lbl.gov/.

The Bosch Group is a global supplier of technology and services. Additional information can be accessed at www.bosch.com.

3M produces thousands of innovative products for diverse markets. For more information, visit www.3m.com.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. See more information at www.dupont.com.

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