Energy From the Sun Even after Dark

What if the energy generated from solar panels could be used even after the sun went down? What if energy from wind power could be used on days when Mother Nature decided to be still? Imagine if we could prevent blackouts on peak days by storing clean energy in advance. All of these could be possible with innovations in green energy storage. It’s a key to putting clean technologies on par with existing fossil fuel-based power, and securing the world’s energy future.

A cutting-edge collaboration among DuPont, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Bosch, and 3M was just awarded a grant for $1.6 million by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to develop a longer-lasting, less expensive way to store clean energy.

This technology is aimed at improving the operation of the electric grid through the temporary storage of electrical energy with a new battery system. “At DuPont, we continue to collaborate and investigate new ways to advance renewable energy,” said Steven Freilich, director – DuPont Materials Science and Engineering.

“This program is an exciting opportunity to further advance in materials science and build on our membrane technology experience in fuel cells. These new batteries will be able to store and provide energy on demand – eventually eliminating fluctuations in our power systems.”

The collaboration of the partners is a critical element of the program’s path to success. “This ARPA-E funding provides us an opportunity to combine our strengths in batteries and fuel cells and work on an important new area, which is grid-scale storage,” said Venkat Srinivasan, scientist – Berkeley Lab, lead investigator for the project. “We believe we have a very promising solution to the storage problems for grid applications, and this will provide the seed funding required to bring our research to fruition.”

The collective goal is the same as ARPA-E – the project hopes to contribute to innovations in technology that allow for better energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new battery system will improve the reliability of current electric power transmission, enhance energy efficiency, and reduce future emissions of greenhouse gases.

“Bosch views stationary energy storage as one of the important enabling technologies for larger penetration of renewable energy sources into the national electricity grid,” said Dr. Horst Muenzel, regional president – Bosch Corporate Research North America.

“Bosch is very appreciative of the opportunity to contribute to a technology that we hope will improve the national grid and allow for a larger share of electrical energy to be derived from green sources.”

In a world where energy consumption will increase by 60 percent in the next 25 years, the development of technology for clean energy that lessens our dependence on fossil fuels is a must. The collaborative science in this program will help accelerate the growth of these technologies, make them cost competitive and create green jobs along the way.

The work will be carried out at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif.; Bosch in Palo Alto, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass.; DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Del.; and facilities at 3M.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provides solutions to the world’s most urgent scientific challenges including wind energy, climate change, human health, and a better understanding of matter and force in the universe. Berkeley Lab is a world leader in improving our lives and knowledge of the world around us through innovative science, advanced computing and technology that makes a difference. Berkeley Lab is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory. It conducts unclassified scientific research and is managed by the University of California for the DOE Office of Science.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, some 275,000 associates generated sales of 38.2 billion euros in fiscal 2009. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 300 subsidiaries and regional companies in over 60 countries.
If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for growth. Each year, Bosch spends more than 3.5 billion euros for research and development, and applies for some 3,800 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial.

3M – A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands of innovative products for dozens of diverse markets. 3M’s core strength is applying its more than 40 distinct technology platforms – often in combination – to a wide array of customer needs. With $23 billion in sales, 3M employs 75,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 90 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.