Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

Smaller. Lighter. Longer Lasting. That's what consumers want in the batteries they use to power personal electronics.
Here at the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, or J-CESR, researchers hope to meet the demand.
This is the birthplace of the lithium ion battery technology, but J-CESR scientists and engineers have bigger - and smaller - goals in mind.
Jeffrey Chamberlain: “Five times the energy density at one fifth the cost.”
All this in five years, according to deputy director Jeffrey Chamberlain. Cell phones, he says, are the devices where consumers will first notice a change.
Jeffrey Chamberlain: “So instead of charging it every day, they might be able to charge it every few days or every week. Or instead of having certain power and capability on their cell phone, they might be able to get to a kind of power that today unimagined.”
Chamberlain says the ultimate goal is to change the worldwide automotive market.
Jeffrey Chamberlain: “The bigger mission we are on is trying to store energy in a way that is cost-effective and safe so that we can compete directly with the internal combustion engine using electricity or electric transport.”
Argonne’s Energy Systems Division Director Don Hillebrand says more power for personal electronics is an easy sell - but consumers demand change when it comes to cars.
Don Hillebrand: “Some consumers want an all-electric vehicle. The big debate right now is how many of them are there? And that number changes based on how much gasoline costs. And really at what point does gasoline get expensive enough that it drives more and more people into wanting all-electrics?”
Hillebrand says the sales figures this year - about ten thousand electric vehicles sold per month in the United States - is below industry expectations, but the battery - the center is developing could change the picture.
Hillebrand: “It’s showing steady growth as we go forward. That number needs to be ten times bigger for us to really say that this program has been a total success, and getting to that ten times is really tied to getting the battery to what we need it to be.”
But if that battery development is successful, and sales of electric powered vehicles take off, there will be increased demand on the existing power grid to recharge those batteries - a problem the scientists and researchers at J-CESR are also tackling by developing a large scale battery for the grid. Kane Farabaugh, VOA news, Chicago Illinois.

Source: VOA


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