The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) plans to launch a new ‘Energy Innovation Hub’ for advanced research on energy storage, an essential component in helping intermittent sources of renewable energy – such as wind and solar power – achieve their full potential.
The DOE will invest up to $120 million over five years in the ‘hub,’ which will be funded at up to $20 million in fiscal year 2012 and will focus on accelerating research and development (R&D) of electrochemical energy storage for the electric grid and transportation.
The interdisciplinary R&D through the new Energy Innovation Hub will help advance cutting-edge energy-storage and battery technologies that can be used to improve the reliability and the efficiency of the electrical grid; better integrate clean, renewable energy technologies as part of the electrical system; and be used in electric and hybrid vehicles that will reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, the DOE explains.
The goals of the initiative are to deliver research that leads to revolutionary new technologies and to develop radically new scientific approaches, including the exploration of new materials, devices, systems and novel approaches for transportation and utility-scale storage.
The hub will also aim to foster new energy-storage designs and develop working, scalable prototype devices that demonstrate new approaches for electrochemical storage, overcoming current manufacturing limitations through innovation to reduce complexity and cost, according to the DOE.
The ultimate goal will be to surpass the current technical limits for electrochemical energy storage and reduce the risk level enough for the industry to further develop the innovations discovered by the hub and deploy these new technologies into the marketplace, the DOE adds.
Letters of intent to apply are due on March 1, and full applications are due on May 31. Universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations and private firms are eligible to compete and are encouraged to form partnerships when submitting their proposals.Â The award selection is expected this summer.
More information is available here.