Producers and crew from PBS's Nova series are visiting the Energy Institute's Battery Lab this week while filming a special on the future of energy storage and vehicle electrification. Battery Lab Manager Greg Less, along with Battery Fabrication Specialist Bill Hicks, are building batteries with host David Pogue, while Professors Levi Thompson, Jeff Sakamoto and Christian Lastoskie will guide the production team through their lab spaces and give interviews about their work. UMEI Director Mark Barteau will appear to discuss the future of energy storage and transportation.
An interdisciplinary team of U-M sustainability experts and engineers has developed a “ green guide” to aid developers and operators of energy storage systems. Titled “12 Principles for Green Energy Storage in Grid Applications,” the 12 Principles offer researchers, designers and industry professionals a clear, concise picture of the most important criteria to consider when designing and operating sustainable energy storage devices and systems. The principles are detailed in the January 19 issue of Environmental Science and Technology.
Because of the intermittency of electricity production from renewables, energy storage is an important complement to renewable power. It’s a way to keep using solar energy in the dark and wind energy on a calm day. The renewable industry is growing dramatically; the US boasts twice as many solar workers as it did five years ago. The deployment of storage technologies is expected to grow in tandem as the use of wind, solar, and other renewable technologies continue to grow.
Two new Department of Energy grants that total $5.4 million will let University of Michigan engineering researchers work on “transformational” engine and battery projects. Their efforts could lead to efficiency gains in cars and trucks, the electrical grid, and beyond.
The University of Michigan will award more than $1 million in grant funding to technologies that demonstrate high potential for solving transportation's toughest challenges.
The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization Transportation program, in partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp., offers an avenue for U-M researchers and innovators to discover commercial opportunities to advance their projects out of the lab and into the market.
Learning from others, Michigan considers best options for future fracking
With the rapid rise in hydraulic fracturing activity, numerous government, industry, academic and environmental organizations have rushed to examine the potential benefits and impacts of high-volume hydraulic fracturing. In fact, one review of the available scientific peer-reviewed literature on the impacts of shale gas development found that the bulk, or 73%, of the studies have been published only since January 1 2013.
ANN ARBOR—The opening of the University of Michigan Energy Institute's Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facility, or Battery Lab, today further expands the Midwest's rapidly growing battery research and manufacturing capabilities.
The open-access lab will provide space to build and test battery concepts while fully protecting the intellectual property of its users. The lab's capabilities have already attracted global user interest from startups, established corporations and academics.
"Mark Barteau, director of the University of Michigan Energy Institute, said the EPA Clean Power Plan could significantly boost renewable energy in Michigan. But he said the state should aim for even loftier goals.
Earlier this year, the Energy Institute issued a report that outlined opportunities for significantly increasing electricity production from wind and solar sources, Barteau said.
Three new kinds of battery that just might change the world (feat. Battery Lab Manager Greg Less)
So, it’s time to ask again: Why aren’t we all driving around in oxygen-powered cars? Well, the chemical reaction that produces energy in these batteries also happens to come with a considerable drawback. As it interacts with the oxygen, the aluminum degrades over time. It’s a type of battery called a “primary” cell, which means current only flows one way, from the anode to the cathode. That means they can’t be recharged. Instead, the batteries have to be swapped out and recycled after running down.
This week, technicians at the University of Michigan Battery Lab installed the facility's prismatic cell winder. The machine places punched anode and cathode coupons between layers of separator film in a precision process to create a battery similar to what you might find in your cellphone, tablet, or laptop computer. Also, it looks awesome.
Trucks rolled in to the Energy Institute BattLab last week, delivering pilot line electrode preparation equipment, including the coater, electro-densification press, and a slitter. The BattLab’s dry room construction is complete save for air handling equipment, and glove boxes have arrived.
North campus just got a little bit safer. On January 27-29, energy storage and lithium battery safety training seminars were held at the Battery Fabrication and Characterization User Facility for those doing energy storage research or using the facility. Dedicated in Fall 2013 and currently nearing completion, the facility, dubbed the Battlab, is a space developed in cooperation with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Ford Motor Company.
Electricity for rainforest villages in Gabon. Tent fabric that harvests solar energy for nomadic people in Kazakhstan. A modular greenhouse and fish farm in an unused industrial building in Highland Park, Michigan.
These are some of the goals and possibilities a team of 17 researchers will pursue with a new $3 million Third Century Initiative Global Challenges grant from the University of Michigan.