July 4, 2019: The US Department of Energy will award $89 million for research and development including innovative manufacturing processes for battery energy storage, it announced on June 21.
US energy secretary Rick Perry said the money would support innovative, advanced manufacturing research and development projects, and tackle key priorities such as domestic manufacturing for energy storage.
Three topics have been identified as areas in which the US’s global competitiveness could be improved, the announcement said: “by catalyzing innovation around manufacturing of key energy technologies and by reducing industrial process energy intensity”.
The three topics are: Innovations for the Manufacture of Advanced Materials; Lower Thermal Budget Processes for Industrial Efficiency & Productivity; and Connected, Flexible and Efficient Manufacturing Facilities and Energy Systems.
Innovative Manufacturing Processes for Battery Energy Storage is a subtopic of the first topic, and “focuses on employing machine learning to develop better batteries, phase change storage materials for heating and cooling applications and new semiconductors that convert temperature differences into electricity.
“A key focus is developing and scaling new, low-cost manufacturing processes to catalyse increased domestic battery manufacturing for vehicle and stationary applications.”
On January 17 this year, Perry announced the DoE would award a lithium battery recycling prize of $5.5 million for any process that could profitably capture 90% of all spent lithium batteries in the US.
It is also giving $15 million over three years to the ReCell Center at Argonne National Laboratory, where scientists are trying to develop a recycling process which involves recycling cathode structures in lithium batteries as opposed to separating all the parts of a lithium battery before recycling them.