Last week US Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu announced an Innovation Hub “to develop fresh concepts and new approaches to making batteries that last longer, go farther, and cost less”. This new research centre is intended to dramatically improve battery and energy storage technologies for vehicle and grid applications and to ensure that the United States wins the race for dramatically new energy storage technologies. GallonDaily commends the US for taking the lead on a technology leap that is vital for the transition to a low carbon economy.
Some of Chu’s targets, which he admits may not all be met, include:
- increasing the fuel economy of light-duty vehicles by more than 50 percent.
- supporting research and development of high-tensile strength steels, aluminum and magnesium alloys, and carbon fiber composites with the goal of reducing body and chassis weight by 50 percent.
- recovering waste heat in automobiles, with the goal of increasing fuel efficiency by up to 10 percent.
- significant progress in reducing manufacturing costs for automotive fuel cells.
- returning leadership in battery manufacturing shift from Asia to the United States, pushing the limits of energy density and cost for lithium-ion batteries and exploring even more advanced battery concepts such as lithium-air, lithium-sulfur, and a whole class of metal-air batteries.
The Obama Administration has proposed standards that will increase U.S. fuel economy to nearly 55 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025.
Secretary Chu’s speech to the Detroit Economic Club can be read in full at http://energy.gov/articles/secretary-chus-remarks-detroit-economic-club-prepared-delivery