Hybrid Battery from ORNL Reduces Corrosion, Contributes to Grid Efforts

The nation’s commitment to grid modernization continues to pick up speed, with significant advancements being made in East Tennessee. On the heels of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) announcement of a commitment to $200 million for more than 80 projects to modernize America’s grid, TAEBC Charter member, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) introduced earlier in February a new approach to batteries that shows significant promise for grid usage.

Credit: ORNL

Credit: ORNL

ORNL’s battery approach uses inexpensive and plentiful aluminum and lithium – containing cathodes to increase capacity, cycling performance, and safety. According to ORNL’s release, the hybrid battery uses aluminum as the anode – a negative electrode – instead of lithium or graphite. It also uses a new cell design that significantly reduces the problem of corrosion caused by the strong acidic nature of electrodes.

All of this research work, published in the journal Chemical Communications, results in a battery that potentially offers alternative energy storage devices for multiple applications at a lower cost.

That’s good news for the nation’s progress toward grid modernization. ORNL is expected to be involved in more than 25 of DOE’s 80 funded grid projects, with the scope of work to include transformer research, analysis, and testing.

Grid modernization efforts explore the concept of microgrids, a localized group of electricity sources and loads that can disconnect and function on their own, separate from a traditional centralized grid.

Microgrids continue to be researched and investigated in Tennessee, both for their ability to function autonomously and for their capacity to operate as economic conditions warrant. Modernizing the nation’s grid remains a high priority for DOE with DC stating that the “grid is essential to reducing carbon emissions, creating safeguards against attacks on infrastructure, and keeping the lights on.”

DOE says increased funding is being made available to further strengthen ongoing efforts to improve electrical infrastructure in order to respond to the nation’s energy needs for decades to come.

As progress continues to be announced about grid modernization efforts, TAEBC will keep members updated on the latest from ORNL and DOE.

 

 

DOE Grid Modernization Funding Announcement Has East Tennessee Impact

When the Department of Energy (DOE) announced on January 14th a commitment of up to $200 million for more than 80 projects to modernize America’s grid, it left little doubt that DC is serious about increasing the reliability of the nation’s electrical delivery system.

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In a release, DOE Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said, “Modernizing the U.S. electrical grid is essential to reducing carbon emissions, creating safeguards against attacks on our infrastructure, and keeping the lights on. This public-private partnership between our National Laboratories, industry, academia, and state and local government agencies will help us further strengthen our ongoing efforts to improve our electrical infrastructure so that it is prepared to respond to the nation’s energy needs for decades to come.”

Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) Charter member Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is anticipated to play a major role in DOE’s overall plan. ORNL spokeswoman Morgan McCorkle confirmed to the News Sentinel that the lab will be involved in more than 25 of the funded projects. ORNL’s scope of work will include transformer research, analysis and testing. McCorkle also confirmed the lab will receive about $11 million in Fiscal Year 2016 and a total of $22 million over three years.

In addition, several of DOE’s grid modernization funded research projects explore the concept of microgrids, a localized group of electricity sources and loads that can disconnect and function on their own, separate from a traditional centralized grid. Microgrids are being researched and investigated here in Tennessee, both for their ability to function autonomously and for their capacity to operate as economic conditions warrant.

Last December, TAEBC members heard from fellow members who are investigating microgrid feasibility in East Tennessee. Cherokee Farm in Knoxville, working with Hitachi, continues to study the economic impact of an operational microgrid. TAEBC member Schneider Electric is also making advances toward microgrid development in Upper East Tennessee.

All of this activity is not only good for the nation but good for organizations such as TAEBC. With our Charter member ORNL playing a significant role in grid research, it’s safe to say that Tennessee overall will be a major player in advancing the resiliency, reliability, and security of the nation’s electricity delivery system.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation to Highlight Annual “Opportunities in Energy” December event

Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) photo_reuben_sarkarmembers will have an audience with one of the key leaders in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) when Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Reuben Sarkar speaks during the annual “Opportunities in Energy” event the afternoon of Tuesday, December 15, 2015, at the Howard Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Sarkar oversees EERE’s Sustainable Transportation area, which includes the Vehicle, Fuel Cell, and Bioenergy Technologies offices. EERE is at the center of creating the clean energy economy today and leads the U.S. Department of Energy’s efforts to develop and deliver market-driven solutions for energy-saving homes, buildings, and manufacturing; sustainable transportation; and renewable electricity generation.

EERE invests annually more than $600 million with a focus to reduce oil dependence, avoid pollution, and create jobs by designing and manufacturing petroleum alternatives and more energy efficient cars and trucks, including a portfolio of electric vehicles, engine efficiency, and clean domestic fuels. EERE also plays a key role in advancing America’s “all of the above” energy strategy, leading a large network of researchers and other partners to deliver innovative technologies that will make renewable electricity generation cost-competitive with traditional sources of energy.

In addition, EERE leads a robust network of researchers and other partners to continually develop innovative, cost-effective energy-saving solutions, which helps make our country run better through increased efficiency—better plants, manufacturing processes, products, new homes, ways to improve older homes, and buildings in which to work, shop, and lead our everyday lives.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Sarkar’s moderated fireside chat will be complimented by three panel discussions with representatives from leaders in the automotive industry; the utilities, energy, research and academic sectors; and the policy and economic development sectors.

For more news and updates from EERE, here.

For more information about Deputy Assistant Secretary Sarkar, here.

TAEBC Presence at White House Forum Showcases East Tennessee’s Assets

When Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) President Tom Ballard visited Washington, DC earlier this month as part of the “White House Forum on Connecting Regional Innovation Ecosystems to Federal and National Labs,” he was one of several Tennesseans joining 80 White Houseindividuals from different industries throughout the nation with a common goal – to ensure that federal labs continue to do even more for regional economies.

Hosted by the White House National Economic Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and Office of Management and Budget, the forum was one of several such sessions that are being organized around a variety of topics.

“Attending an event like this has to make you proud that many of the initiatives that we have underway were part of a national dialogue on best practices,” said Ballard.

To read more about Ballard’s visit to DC and discussion on federal R&D assets, www.teknovation.biz.

It All Began in Chattanooga: DC Delegate Reflects on Recent Visit and Culmination of TAEBC Initiatives

by Cortney Piper, Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council

When members of the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council (TAEBC) visited Washington, DC in September as delegates to the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit, the trip marked the importance the Volunteer State plays in the nation’s advanced energy economy.

ssistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy David Danielson introduces new efforts during the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit in Washington, DC

Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy David Danielson introduces new efforts during the American Energy and Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit held in Washington, DC in late September. 

While the trip provided an opportunity to showcase Oak Ridge National Lab’s (ORNL) achievements in United States (US) clean energy manufacturing competitiveness, it also gave delegates a chance to reflect on TAEBC’s achievements over the past few years and how those successes helped lead to a productive DC visit, culminating in the announcement of two new efforts by Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy David Danielson.

Those efforts include a national laboratory-industry collaboration pilot and a competitive solicitation to leverage national labs’ high-performance computing capabilities—to strengthen US clean energy manufacturing competitiveness.

I remember when TAEBC first captured the attention of Assistant Secretary Danielson in Chattanooga in 2014. The Assistant Secretary visited the city to learn more about how public and private partnerships can help businesses access assets for clean energy manufacturing; he listened to what TAEBC is doing to champion advanced energy in the Southeast and heard feedback from the private sector regarding how best to access and leverage federal energy assets in the state.

Bringing big and small businesses together with our advanced energy assets and a unified mission means everything to the advanced energy economy. Assistant Secretary Danielson carried many of the ideas shared, from Chattanooga to DC, and those ideas were reflected in the announcement in September of the Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy sector’s most recent efforts as well as the Small Business Voucher Program announced in July.

Participating in the DC trip and witnessing the focus placed on Tennessee throughout the Manufacturing Competitiveness Summit clearly demonstrated that TAEBC continues to provide value to the membership by putting a national spotlight on the region. The Department of Energy (DOE) is listening and recognizing Tennessee for what we have and what we can achieve.

We began TAEBC as a business council designed to educate public officials and business leaders about Tennessee’s advanced energy assets, connecting assets with opportunities to create economic impact, and informing policy that expands and strengthens the industry.

We continue to support Tennessee in its effort to shine as a leader in this $1.3 trillion global market, helping economic development stakeholders attract businesses to the state, creating jobs for residents. Assistant Secretary Danielson’s recent announcements are examples of the growth and advancement that are central to TAEBC’s mission.

We have much to be proud of, much work to achieve and much more opportunities to discover. Let’s remember that our work matters; our goals are clear; and we have Washington‘s ear.

Thank you to all fellow delegates who helped bring home the message to DC that Tennessee holds the key to powering advanced energy throughout the nation.