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DOE Wants 5X Improvement In Batteries In 5 Years 305

Posted by Soulskill
from the charging-scientists-with-this-task dept.
dcblogs writes "The U.S. Dept. of Energy has set a goal to develop battery and energy storage technologies that are five times more powerful and five times cheaper within five years. DOE is creating a new center at Argonne National Laboratory, at a cost of $120 million over five years, that's intended to reproduce development environments that were successfully used by Bell Laboratories and World War II's Manhattan Project. 'When you had to deliver the goods very, very quickly, you needed to put the best scientists next to the best engineers across disciplines to get very focused,' said U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, on Friday. The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research isn't designed to seek incremental improvements in existing technologies. This technology hub, according to DOE's solicitation (PDF), 'should foster new energy storage designs that begin with a "clean sheet of paper" — overcoming current manufacturing limitations through innovation to reduce complexity and cost.' Other research labs, universities and private companies are participating in the effort."
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DOE Wants 5X Improvement In Batteries In 5 Years

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  • Pocket change (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ebonum (830686) on Friday November 30, 2012 @07:11PM (#42149449)

    Industry has been pouring billions into research. How is $120 million over five years going to do anything?

    Anyone who invents a technology ( and production process to keep it cheap ) to get a 5x improvement will be a billionaire over night. If you are going to do this, do it right and spend some real money. How about 250 million a year over 5 years? btw. The if the US government pays for it, the US government should patent everything and get a 5x return for the taxpayers.

  • by Beerdood (1451859) on Friday November 30, 2012 @07:15PM (#42149511)
    [wikipedia.org]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_encumbrance_of_large_automotive_NiMH_batteries [wikipedia.org]

    Sorry for a wiki link, too lazy to look up more sources. Basically we'd have better battery technology if Oil & Car companies didn't deliberately stifle technology
  • Making babies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jamesl (106902) on Friday November 30, 2012 @07:22PM (#42149587)

    We all know that nine women can't make a baby in one month but Chu thinks that they can if they work for the government and he throws enough money at them.

    Five years is conveniently after the current administration has left the building.

  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Friday November 30, 2012 @07:30PM (#42149675) Homepage
    Even worse, what about something with nearly 100x the energy density? I mean, imagine how dangerous an automobile would be with that amount of energy on board, in the hands of clueless idiots who can't drive?

    Oh, wait...
  • by catchblue22 (1004569) on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:13PM (#42150813) Homepage

    We need portable energy, and molten anything is not an answer.

    Its easy to give a Ted Talk, its a lot harder to offer up a practical idea. (Just look at how many TED talks are nothing but TED Talks).

    You didn't watch the TED talk, did you. If you had, you would realize that they have already built several working prototypes, around the size of a pizza dish, plus or minus. You also disregarded the implied or stated purpose, that is to store electricity generated from daytime solar electricity generation, be it in a single house or more likely on a utility scale.

  • Re:Chu! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by icebike (68054) on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:23PM (#42150893)

    If the oil doom sayers are correct, then there would be enough political pressure to adjust patent law to free up the tech.

    From your lips to God's ears.

    Patent law is so entrenched it can probably never be fixed.
    Only a policy of Nationalizing Patents the way that some countries nationalize industrial segments, refineries, mines, etc has any hope of success. And as long as there is even one congress critter with his hand out that will never happen.

    (There is another meaning to "Nationalizing Patents" which simply takes a foreign patents and gets a US patent to cover the same thing. That's not what I mean here. I mean a "taking".)

  • by StormyWeather (543593) on Friday November 30, 2012 @09:40PM (#42151009) Homepage

    In WW2 it was advance technology fast or the other guys could kill everyone you love. That's a pretty big motivator to cut the red tape and bullshit, and pull as a team. His will they recreate that here?

  • Re:Chu! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by icebike (68054) on Saturday December 01, 2012 @12:57AM (#42152259)

    Not true. Ask the makers of viagra.
    Patented for years. Only recently was it revealed they didn't disclose every detail in their patent. So virtually on the eve of the patent expiration, their patent was revoked.
    But the don't have to give back the billions they made.

    But I never said they were all those things in every case. It was a list of possibilities.

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