DOE Grant Boosts CA Energy Storage Accelerator

The Department of Energy's commitment includes up to $120M in funding over the next five years.

December 5, 2012
Manufacturing Group

A new California innovation accelerator for energy storage firms is getting a "fresh charge," thanks to the U.S. Department of Energy.

CalCharge – a partnership between Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and CalCEF, a family of nonprofit organizations working to promote the transition to a clean energy economy-- will play a central role in the newly announced Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), the latest U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub.

JCESR, led by Argonne National Laboratory in Indiana, will combine the R&D power of five DOE national laboratories, five universities, and four private firms, all committed to achieving groundbreaking advances in battery performance and energy storage. The Department of Energy's commitment includes up to $120 million in funding over the next five years.

"Playing a role in the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research further cements California's role as a national leader in cutting-edge energy technologies," says Venkat Srinivasan, head of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources groups at Berkeley Lab. "JCESR will provide hands-on support for energy storage firms, from lab space and equipment to networking with top researchers at Berkeley Lab."

The formation of CalCharge was announced earlier this year, with an operational launch planned for the first quarter of 2013.  CalCharge will bring together emerging and established California companies, academic and research institutions, government bodies, and financing sources to jumpstart a new era of energy storage technologies for the electric/hybrid vehicle, grid, and consumer electronics markets.  Through its programs, CalCharge will enable diverse stakeholders to collaborate, identify barriers to emerging technology success, develop solutions, and help provide access to resources that clear the path to commercialization.

"CalCharge is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership working to accelerate energy storage commercialization and market adoption," says Jeff Anderson, interim Executive Director of CalCharge.  "It's all about turning great ideas into sellable products that help address our sustainable energy challenges."  Working with Berkeley Lab's world-class scientific facilities and personnel, CalCharge will offer programs to support technology development and commercialization, workforce training, and market insight.

"The Joint Center for Energy Research will integrate efforts at several successful independent research programs, and it will create enormous opportunities for the members of the CalCharge consortium to engage with this newly expanded ecosystem of potential partners and resources," Anderson says.

JCESR is the fourth Energy Innovation Hub established by the Department of Energy since 2010. The other DOE hubs are focused on efficient buildings, fuels from sunlight, and nuclear energy. Plans call for a fifth hub to focus on critical materials research.