Energy Department to Award $43 Million for Energy Storage Technologies

August 8, 2012

The Energy Department announced on August 2 that 19 new projects will receive a total of $43 million from the department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop breakthrough energy storage technologies. The projects will focus on innovations in battery management and storage to advance electric vehicle (EV) technologies, help improve the efficiency and reliability of the electrical grid, and provide important energy security benefits to U.S. armed forces. The projects are supported by two new ARPA-E programs: Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) and Small Business Innovation Research.

Twelve research projects are receiving $30 million in funding under the AMPED program, which aims to develop advanced sensing and control technologies that could dramatically improve grid-scale and vehicle batteries. Unlike other Energy Department efforts to push the frontiers of battery chemistry, AMPED is focused on maximizing the potential of existing battery chemistries. These innovations will help reduce costs and improve the performance of next-generation storage technologies, which could be applied in both plug-in and hybrid EVs. For example, Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio, will develop an optical sensor to monitor the internal environment of a lithium-ion battery in real-time.

ARPA-E is also awarding $13 million to seven enterprising small businesses that are pursuing cutting-edge energy storage developments for stationary power and electric vehicles. These businesses will develop novel battery chemistries and battery designs as part of the larger department-wide Small Business Innovative Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program. For example, Energy Storage Systems, Inc., in Portland, Oregon, will construct a flow battery for grid-scale storage using an advanced cell design and electrolyte materials composed of low cost iron. See the Energy Department press release.