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Joint Center for Energy Storage Research could make Chicago area hub for battery technology

Friday, November 30, 2012

A new multi-million dollar energy resource center could turn Chicago into the battery capital of the United States.

The hope is that center will create environmentally friendly batteries for products like electric vehicles.

The goal is for Argonne National Laboratory to create a research institute for battery technology in Illinois that will combine research around the country into one location.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Chicago and Illinois will become the center of that research and all the promise of jobs and economic opportunities that come from that.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu joined Governor Pat Quinn and Mayor Emanuel to announce a team led by Argonne National Laboratory has been selected for an award of up to $120 million over five years to establish a new batteries and energy storage hub in suburban Lemont.

"Very important for American industrial competitiveness, very important that research be intimately linked with manufacturing in a way that will actually propel the United States forward and this is what the hub concept is about," said Chu.

"To create in five years batteries that are more powerful and cheaper, we are taking coordinated mission driven programs here that will lead to breakthroughs in energy science and train and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers ," said Eric Isaacs, director of Argonne. "We are going to develop batteries that are five times more powerful, five times cheaper within five years. That is an ambitious goal."

"Other labs were competing for this grant, which is why I am so proud that we here in Chicago and state of Illinois are going to be the center of a promising field," said Mayor Emanuel.

The hub will be called the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research. It will combine the power of five Department of Energy national laboratories, five universities, and the private sector in an effort to achieve revolutionary advances in battery performance for electric cars and for use on our aging power grid.

Governor Quinn said he is providing millions of dollars to help build the state-of-the-art facility.

"This particular industry, this battery technology industry, is a $42 billion worldwide industry, and it's growing at about 8 percent a year, and we want to get part of that," said Quinn.

Mayor Emanuel said the hub will make Chicago the electric vehicle and batteries capital of the nation, and will create incentives to encourage the making of more electric vehicles.

The hope is that Illinois will become the epicenter of research on this subject.

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