Energy Storage Research Gets $12 Million Boost

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Case Western Reserve researchers and their partners across the country $12 million to advance their work to find innovative solutions for large, long-lasting energy storage.

The award follows an earlier $10.75 million DOE grant establishing the Breakthrough Electrolytes for Energy Storage Center on campus.

The problem researchers are working to solve: Despite all the advances in batteries during the last 20 years, modern technologies still can’t store significant amounts of electricity for long periods of time at low cost. Leading the work is Robert Savinell, PhD, a Distinguished University Professor in chemical engineering.

Electrolyte solutions inside certain rechargeable batteries transport ions between the positive and negative poles to help store and discharge energy.

The aim is to develop the next generation of electrolytes for large-scale battery systems.

“These would not be batteries for electric vehicles,” Savinell said, “but for storing much larger amounts of energy from wind farms, solar farms and at utility power plants so they can buffer the energy load as demand changes.

“We’re starting to build a story here,” he added, “that’s pretty exciting.”