US injects $43 million into energy storage research

The funding, which has been allocated under the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, will both go towards the development of energy storage technologies and help support "promising" small businesses.

Under the new Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) program, researchers aim to focus on the electric vehicle sector, specifically in the fields of battery management and storage; boosting the efficiency and reliability of the U.S. electrical grid; and energy security benefits for the armed forces.

Overall, 12 projects will receive a total of $30 million to improve existing battery technologies and develop advanced sensing and control technologies. The goal is to both reduce costs and advance battery performance.

Meanwhile, under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, $13 million has been awarded to seven projects from small businesses, which will focus on energy storage developments for stationary power and electric vehicles. "These projects will develop new innovative battery chemistries and battery designs," said DOE in a statement released.

Of particular interest is the research proposed by Portland-based Energy Storage Systems, Inc. – awarded $1,725,000 – which is looking to construct a flow battery for grid-scale storage. "The flow battery will have a target storage cost of less than $100/kWh, which could enable deployment of renewable energy technologies all across the nation’s power grid," explained the DOE.

ITN Energy Systems, Inc.’s proposal to improve Vanadium flow batteries for grid-scale energy storage could also have an impact on small-scale solar generation. It has been awarded $1,725,000, which will go towards the integration of a "unique, low-cost membrane with a new flow battery chemistry".

Commenting, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, "This latest round of ARPA-E projects seek to address the remaining challenges in energy storage technologies, which could revolutionize the way Americans store and use energy in electric vehicles, the grid and beyond, while also potentially improving the access to energy for the U.S. military at forward operating bases in remote areas."

See all the funding awards and project proposals.