New $120 Million US Program Launched To Find Cheaper Batteries

DEC 1 2012 BY STAFF 10

Lets try this again.

The last time the government attempted to kick start the electric car battery business it injected over $2 billion into 29 different companies at various stages of the  process.  Many believe in so doing, they over-stimulated a market that was not ready for the amount of capacity that was coming online.

Many of these companies were deemed (in hindsight) to be way too small for the amount of cash they were infused with, while others undeserving.

This time, the government will invest only a fraction of the prior commitment, $120 million to companies/research firms that are already well established and that are seen as specifically advancing battery technology to make the cost of electric vehicles come down.

The group will be lead by the Argonne National Laboratory, and they will dispense the $120 million over five years to establish a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub. The Hub 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.

“This is a partnership between world leading scientists and world leading companies, committed to ensuring that the advanced battery technologies the world needs will be invented and built right here in America,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.  “Based on the tremendous advances that have been made in the past few years, there are very good reasons to believe that advanced battery technologies can and will play an increasingly valuable role in strengthening America’s energy and economic security.”

Of Argonne Labs taking taking over the project, Representative Dan Lipinski  (IL) says this award will make Argonne the “world leader in an emerging field that will promote American energy independence, make green energy more available and affordable, and grow manufacturing in the region.”

Will this project be more successful than that of the last?  It seems to us that this is a far more measured approach, and the money is more finely tuned to advancing the technology.

However, unlike the previous investment tranche, where success could be finitely measured by the success or failure of the companies being invested in, there is no yardstick here for evaluating its return on investment.

To read more about the program and what it entails, check out the DOE’s website on the new Hub.


Categories: Battery Tech, General


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10 Comments on "New $120 Million US Program Launched To Find Cheaper Batteries"

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Batteries will be cheaper if they make more of them. Cost of scale is about the fastest way to make cheaper batteries.

Is there any involvment of the IBM battery consortium?

Don’t they know, Eestor has already developed this battery! LOL.

How come Duracell isn’t involved?


Reviewed the website too n ow that I’ve had some time. this whole thing smells like Chicago.To the victor go the spoils.

Is it wrong I had the same first gut reaction? Rightly or wrongly, I think anytime you see the word Chicago associated with stuff like this it just makes you feel uneasy.

“there is no yardstick here for evaluating its return on investment.”

Sure there is – results.

Why not make the ev subsidy an even 10k for that kind of money. I think tat would meke more of an incentive on battery tech and demand… Otherwise more battery overcapacity will be inevitable and the outcome is bankruptcies when the gov’t spigots are turned off.

Does this new salvo indicate a wiser approach, or another
attempt at throwing a load of money at a problem hoping
something will stick?

At least it’s less of a load of money — but does it
mirror attempts at say, curing cancer by raising huge
sums of money for what seems like marginal increases
in success?

Paint me a dorky optimist, but if the DOE and DOD
are involved, and we know many
recognize our very survival depends upon our military
being less dependent on dino juice…I think we
surely must see incremental gains in battery
efficiency due to all this hubbub – even though
this time, the money is a fraction of what it
has been in the past.

Last few years, batteries have been getting better and cheaper on their own thanks to the invisible hand of our (almost still) free market. Shoveling money at a few political battery friends might help them … or it might crush their competition that was on the verge of a major breakthrough.

IMHO, better to use the money to stimulate demand, then llet competition pick the best supplier. This $120 million could have subsidized another 16,000 EVs instead.