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DOE to begin design and construction phase of $75 million grid energy storage research facility

Mon, 03/22/2021 - 10:33 -- Paul Crompton

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is set to begin the design and construction stage of a facility that aims to accelerate the development and deployment of long-duration, low-cost grid energy storage.

The $75 million Grid Storage Launchpad (GSL) facility at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Washington, US, will have 30 research laboratories, including testing chambers for assessing prototypes and grid energy storage technologies under real world grid operating conditions.

The planned facility will also include flexible workstations and collaboration spaces, including Fellowship Labs to provide dedicated space for researchers to incubate storage technologies originating from the US research and development community.

PNNL plans to start construction late this year, with the building expected to be operational and ready for occupancy by 2025.

PNNL director Steven Ashby, said: “It took 40 years to get to the current state of today’s lithium-ion battery technology, but we need to move much faster to develop the long-duration, low-cost batteries needed to meet the significant challenges of decarbonizing the energy system. 

“The GSL will speed up the process considerably by doing the work needed to develop and deploy new grid storage technologies.”

The GSL will focus on collaboration between multidisciplinary researchers, and industry; validation of next generation grid energy storage materials and systems under grid operating conditions; and the acceleration of technologies from benchtop to real-world systems.

In addition to federal funding, the Washington State Department of Commerce has committed $8.3 million for advanced research equipment and specialised instrumentation that will provide insights into the behaviour of battery materials during operation.

The state’s Department of Commerce has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with DOE’s Office of Electricity to promote partnerships to advance grid energy storage technologies, support the energy storage innovation ecosystem, and share best practices with other states. 

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