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Print 23 comment(s) - last by Mint.. on Dec 6 at 10:56 AM


  (Source: newenglandpost.com)
The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR) is expected to be the most advanced energy storage research program in the U.S.

Argonne National Lab is jump-starting a new Batteries and Energy Storage Hub that is expected to significantly advance battery technology for vehicles and the grid. 

The Batteries and Energy Storage Hub, which will be known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), is expected to be the most advanced energy storage research program in the U.S. It will offer the data needed for scientists to make huge strides in the energy sector. 

JCESR, which is ran by Argonne National Lab Senior Scientist George W. Crabtree, was chosen for a $120 million award over a five-year period. With this money, it'll bring together the efforts of other independent research programs for new battery advances.

More specifically, the advancements will focus on transportation and the grid. As far as transportation goes, research and development will work on increasing the electric range for vehicle batteries. On the grid side, increasing storage capabilities for energy-producing mediums like wind, solar and hydropower will improve efficiency and flexibility. 

This new hub falls in line with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) plan to focus 2013 spending on electric vehicles and grid modernization.

Source: Energy.gov



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RE: Better late than never
By FITCamaro on 12/4/2012 7:31:57 AM , Rating: 4
Sure. Never to late to waste $120M dollars.


RE: Better late than never
By ianweck on 12/4/2012 8:31:56 AM , Rating: 2
In this case I don't think this is a waste of money. Time will tell though.


RE: Better late than never
By RufusM on 12/4/2012 10:24:48 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, this is probably a huge waste of money. There are massive profit incentives to create new battery technology and many, many companies and universities are working on the problem. They have been working on it for quite some time.

The grid problems have a number of proposed solutions already. I think the problem there is funding since it's expensive to replace that kind of widespread infrastructure.

How is this program is going to succeed to bring new battery tech to market where everyone else has not? (I would really like to know in case I'm missing something.)


RE: Better late than never
By Mint on 12/4/2012 12:30:35 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
There are massive profit incentives to create new battery technology and many, many companies and universities are working on the problem.
The profit incentives target different aspects of technology.

Premium cell phones and laptops, would pay 2-3x as much for batteries that have 50% more energy density, so they aren't particularly good drivers of lifetime cost per kWh delivered (i.e. capacity x cycle life).

Car batteries are a big business now, but they wouldn't have been nearly as big without the subsidies.

Grid storage has plenty of economic incentive, but at the same time, battery (or other energy storage) tech isn't nearly as close to economically viable there, which is why we use load following instead. Alternative battery technologies can be used which aren't as portable or power dense, like the molten salt battery. There's a lot of benefit to be had for a centralized research facility rather than having experts at different universities not truly collaborating and working with a tiny fraction of the funding of this project.


RE: Better late than never
By FITCamaro on 12/4/2012 1:32:13 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe they weren't as big a market because no one wants electric cars. Because they can't afford them and the cars themselves can't go as far. Let private investors figure out the issues(how to make them go farther for cheaper). Not the tax payers.


RE: Better late than never
By wiz220 on 12/4/2012 2:48:00 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Because they can't afford them and the cars themselves can't go as far.


But that's exactly the point. It's a chicken and the egg type situation. Private enterprise is often reluctant to take the plunge into an area where there is higher risk combined with long timelines before positive returns are realized. Therefore the costs don't come down and ranges don't improve.

Research facilities/projects like the one being proposed are the way to create the technologies that reduce costs and give better range on batteries. Private enterprise will jump on board at a faster pace after some of the risk has been mitigated due to advances made by these types of publicly funded projects.


RE: Better late than never
By RufusM on 12/5/2012 9:13:29 AM , Rating: 2
There's a trickle down (up?) effect at work here. These things typically start small for things like phone, watch and camera batteries and work through an early adopter process.

After being proven on a smaller scale, they will scale up to larger devices like cars and buses as the production economics and processes improve. There are definitely massive profit incentives to creating better battery technology.


RE: Better late than never
By Mint on 12/6/2012 10:35:49 AM , Rating: 2
As I already explained, the market needs are quite different. For car batteries, the main figure of merit is (cycles * kWh)/price. The better that is, the more mileage there will be over which to amortize its cost. Initial cost alone is only relevant to short sighted consumers. Lease rates take into account the higher residual value of a car with a good battery.

For cell phones, energy density is king. Once you hit 1000 cycles, there's no market incentive to do better.


RE: Better late than never
By patronanejo on 12/5/2012 1:16:48 PM , Rating: 1
What are you, stupid? Do you think battery research is meant to preserve the problems inherent to them?


RE: Better late than never
By Mint on 12/6/2012 10:56:28 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because they can't afford them and the cars themselves can't go as far.
PHEVs can go as far as any car. Pure EVs are useful to some. Cost will come down with volume, and lease rates (low due to high residual value of a lifetime gas saver) already show cost savings.

quote:
Let private investors figure out the issues
As mentioned above, it's a chicken and egg problem. The technology is already lifetime cost effective, but until consumer see proof of a battery lasting 10 years with 80%+ capacity left, and in turn see proof of a used EV selling for much more than an equivalent used ICE, the lifetime savings won't be enough of a purchase factor.

The Leaf is about to start US production and will lower prices in doing so. That volume-based cost reduction wouldn't happen for several years without the subsidies or the loans, and likely outside the US.

You're wrong about nobody wanting EVs. They're ramping up in volume faster than regular hybrids, and will continue to do so.
http://www.transportation.anl.gov/technology_analy...

There are many, many models on the market selling less than 3,000/mo.


RE: Better late than never
By quiksilvr on 12/4/2012 9:09:09 AM , Rating: 4
Oh yeah, $120 million (spread out over 5 years, not 1) for key research on relevant technology is a waste of money.


RE: Better late than never
By FITCamaro on 12/4/2012 1:32:50 PM , Rating: 2
So let the companies that will profit from it spend the money if its so valuable.


RE: Better late than never
By Rage187 on 12/4/2012 4:35:09 PM , Rating: 1
that's the problem. Companies develop new technologies but they hold back the best stuff for generations so they can milk their investment, and rightly so. However, government funded research projects have nothing to gain other than innovation.


RE: Better late than never
By RufusM on 12/5/2012 9:20:14 AM , Rating: 2
The politicians/government also have political favors/clout/campaign money/etc. to gain here. There are virtually always political incentives driving these things way ahead of any altruistic intentions about making society better. That is why government investments rarely work out. They aren't based on economics or solid business plans.

You are right, however, that companies far ahead of everyone else do tend to hold back their maximum innovations to milk maximum profits (think Intel). The problem with that theory is, no company is coming to the market with anything better for batteries so I don't think that holds true in this case.


RE: Better late than never
By nedsand on 12/5/2012 3:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
You would be surprised to see that many companies do not develop anything new. They just buy the technology from a startup or a research entity like this one.


RE: Better late than never
By nafhan on 12/4/2012 10:57:50 AM , Rating: 2
Subsidizing electric cars is a waste of money.

Funding high risk American R&D, on the other hand, is precisely the type of thing the government should be doing. This will potentially give American companies an edge in bringing new tech to market. On top of that, better batteries are something that EVERYONE can benefit from on a lot of levels.


RE: Better late than never
By Shig on 12/4/2012 11:23:16 AM , Rating: 2
Just for the record this is what Governor Romney and Republicans wanted, GENERAL RESEARCH , THAT IS WHAT THIS IS. NOT GIVING THIS MONEY TO SPECIFIC COMPANIES AND PUTTING IT IN RESEARCH THAT WILL BENEFIT EVERYONE.

I have to type in caps and use bold because the right wing rhetoric is insane.


RE: Better late than never
By FITCamaro on 12/4/2012 1:36:33 PM , Rating: 2
You mean it'll give China new things to make for us.


RE: Better late than never
By nafhan on 12/5/2012 11:36:44 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah America sucks. Go China! Putting money into basic research is pointless.

--FITCamaro


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