Energy Department Launches Challenge for Next-Gen Storage Technologies

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The agency will coordinate a range of research and development funding opportunities, prizes, partnerships and other activities to meet a set of strategic goals by 2030.

The Energy Department is launching a comprehensive program to accelerate the development and use of next-generation energy storage technologies across the United States and advance the nation’s global leadership in the space. 

Through its new Energy Storage Grand Challenge, the agency will coordinate a range of research and development funding opportunities, prizes, partnerships and other activities to meet a variety of power-storage-focused goals over the next decade. Energy also anticipates that the program will support its ultimate vision of maintaining a secure domestic supply chain independent of critical materials from foreign sources by 2030. 

"Energy storage is key to capturing the full value of our diverse energy resources," the agency’s Secretary Dan Brouillette said in a statement. "Through this Grand Challenge, we will deploy the department's extensive resources and expertise to address the technology development, commercialization, manufacturing, valuation, and workforce challenges to position the U.S. for global leadership in the energy storage technologies of the future."

Energy’s range of cross-cutting activities will be managed by the agency’s Research and Technology Investment Committee, which was mandated by 2018 legislation and established in 2019 to identify and support a variety of science- and technology-focused research and development opportunities. Through the grand challenge, the department aims to coordinate numerous funding opportunities, prizes, partnerships, and other programs to meet a strategic set of targets over the course of the next decade. According to the agency, those objectives include:

  • Establish ambitious, achievable performance goals, and a comprehensive R&D portfolio to achieve them.
  • Accelerate the technology pipeline from research to system design to private sector adoption through rigorous system evaluation, performance validation, siting tools, and targeted collaborations.
  • Develop best-in-class models, data, and analysis to inform the most effective value proposition and use cases for storage technologies.
  • Design new technologies to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and recyclability, and to reduce dependence on foreign sources of critical materials.
  • Train the next generation of American workers to meet the needs of the 21st-century electric grid and energy storage value chain.

Energy will soon launch a request for information to garner public insights on pertinent issues that should be addressed through the challenge. Agency officials will also host a series of workshops to address barriers and boost the deployment of various storage technologies and grid applications. 

“This work will inform the development [of] a coordinated [research and development] roadmap to 2030 for a broad suite of storage and flexibility technologies,” officials said.