One of the main needs for improving the reliability, efficiency and productivity of our nation’s energy infrastructure is the commercial introduction of advanced technologies for energy storage. Given the R&D emerging from Illinois and the contributions that reliable energy storage devices will play in widespread consumer adoption of electric vehicles and the successful integration of renewable energy sources, it is a fitting focus for this month’s ISTC Catalyst.

From energy producers to environmental analysts, there is strong interest in energy storage and its potential role in ushering in an era of distributed generation. Dependable and robust energy storage offers the potential to meet the growing demand for energy without costly or extensive development of traditional generation methods that produce a heavy carbon footprint.   Reaching this goal will require precisely the extensive, collaborative R&D already occurring in Illinois.

Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) has been developing advanced battery technologies for over thirty years and is recognized by the US Department of Energy as a leading resource for objective, independent battery assessment. ANL is not only at the forefront of R&D for lithium-ion-based batteries, but the laboratory is also advancing work with ultracapacitors and new storage material discovery. Together, ANL and Northwestern University house four of the nation’s  46 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs). The Illinois-based centers focus on advanced electrical energy storage, solar energy conversion and storage, and new storage materials research.

A number of initiatives are also underway to field test this cutting edge research in order to set the stage for moving technologies from the lab to the marketplace. For example, Northwestern University students recently developed and demonstrated an extremely functional application of advanced energy storage technologies when they raced their lithium-ion battery powered solar vehicle from Oklahoma to Illinois as part of the American Solar Challenge competition. In addition, Illinois is home to leading advocates who are advancing policy and resource development, including the National Alliance for Advanced Technology Batteries (NAATBatt) and Battery Council International. Their efforts bring to fruition the ideas and policies required to foster growth in this emerging industry, employing the latest technical, regulatory, and marketing developments and strategies.

The ISTC is excited about our energy future and confident that contributions from Illinois-based businesses and institutions will help translate promising ideas into productive technologies. We invite you to read more about this leadership below.

Watch and Listen:

Argonne’s Khalil Amine discusses lithium air batteries
Northwestern students’ solar car to race 1000 miles cross country


More News:

Gridwise Global Forum

September 21-23, 2010
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C.

The GridWise® Alliance and the U.S. Department of Energy welcome interested parties to the first-annual GridWise Global Forum, September 21-23 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC.

The GridWise® Global Forum is an unprecedented gathering of policy leaders, corporate executives, technology innovators, legislators, regulators, investors, consumers, and environmental advocates from North America and around the globe who have come together to share their experiences with today’s smart grid deployments and their visions for a smarter grid over the next two decades. Speakers and participants from the highest levels of government and the private sector to will discuss the impact of the smart grid on world use energy and supply, the impact of its adoption on industrial, commercial and residential consumer, and opportunities for investors. The outcome of this collaborative discussion will include a global view of smart grid today, including best practices from around the world; a clearer understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead; and a commitment from countries around the world to work together to achieve the full potential of smart grid.

Special Funding Alert: Small Business Innovation Research Program from the National Science Foundation

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program stimulates technological innovation in the private sector by strengthening the role of small business concerns in meeting Federal research and development needs, increasing the commercial application of federally supported research results, and fostering and encouraging participation by socially and economically disadvantaged and women-owned small businesses.The SBIR program solicits proposals from the small business sector consistent with NSF’s mission. The program is governed by Public Law 106-554.

A main purpose of the legislation is to stimulate technological innovation and increase private sector commercialization. The NSF SBIR program is therefore in a unique position to meet both the goals of NSF and the purpose of the SBIR legislation by transforming scientific discovery into both social and economic benefit, and by emphasizing private sector commercialization. Accordingly, NSF has formulated broad solicitation topics for SBIR that conform to the high-technology investment sector’s interests. The four broad topics are: 1) Biotechnology and Chemical Technologies (BC), 2) Education Applications (EA), 3) Information and Communication Technologies (IC), and 4) Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, and Manufacturing (NM). For detailed description of the four topics reference section V. Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions, A.10. Research Topic.