The United States invests $75 million to build a new energy storage technology research laboratory

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has begun construction of a research facility to explore new energy storage technologies.

The research facility, called the Grid Storage Launchpad, will provide space for 35 research labs, 105 staff offices and test rooms to evaluate new energy storage technologies above 100kW under "real-world conditions" and will focus on long-term storage Energy technology, the research facility is expected to be operational as early as 2023.

May 19, 2022

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell was among others at the facility's groundbreaking ceremony on April 21. A total of $75 million will be invested in the facility, most of which will be provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, with an additional $8.3 million from Washington State's Clean Energy Fund (CEF).

"The Launchpad facility will help us improve the reliability and resiliency of the U.S. electrical grid, lead the industry in the development and research of clean energy products, and accelerate the transition to a clean energy system," Cantwell said.

"The Grid Storage Launchpad research facility will facilitate the deployment of clean energy and accelerate the development and deployment of low-cost long-duration grid-scale energy storage systems," added Gil Bindewald, acting principal deputy assistant secretary of the DOE Office of Electricity.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) purchased two state-of-the-art Thermo Fisher electron microscopes and a Thermo Fisher spectrometer to see how battery materials change as they charge and discharge.

The start of construction of the facility comes amid a debate about the role of lithium-ion battery alternatives in long-duration energy storage. It is generally agreed that long-duration energy storage technologies need to be developed to replace lithium-ion battery energy storage systems, but there is some debate as to how long their replacements will last to be cost-effective.

The recently established Long-Term Energy Storage Committee claims that long-term energy storage technologies have the potential to provide 85-140 TWh of energy storage capacity by 2040.

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