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Research Highlights

DOE's Patricia Hoffman Keynotes Energy Storage Symposium at PNNL

Experts convene to discuss future of energy storage and battery technology

June 2016
DOE’s Patricia Hoffman Keynotes Energy Storage Symposium at PNNL
(from left to right) Vince Sprenkle, Patricia Hoffman, Carl Imhoff, Alison Kennedy, and Jun Liu
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More than 160 energy storage experts gathered at PNNL in May to discuss the latest battery technologies that are making electric transportation and large-scale energy storage more accessible.

The ninth Symposium on Energy Storage: Beyond Lithium Ion brought together leaders from national labs, industry, and academia. Throughout the three-day event, experts shared research on future energy storage technologies that can be less costly, safer, and more environmentally friendly than today's energy storage device, the lithium-ion battery.

This year's conference featured a keynote address from Patricia Hoffman, Assistant Secretary for DOE's Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability, which funds the research, development and demonstration of a wide range of grid-related energy storage technologies. As the steward of DOE's grid modernization investments, Hoffman highlighted the challenges and opportunities presented by the pace and complexity of change occurring within the modern electricity sector.

Hoffman emphasized that energy storage is a key building block in that transformation. Research and development continues to highlight new applications and uncover numerous new value streams. New flexibility and value streams are not enough. The cost must come down. Energy storage is already a game changer, but at lower cost points, it becomes a positive disruptive force in building the grid of the future. For context, she summarized DOE's strategic second installment of the Quadrennial Energy Review as a "soup to nuts" evaluation of the electricity system and DOE’s Quadrennial Technology Review, which examined the status of the science and technology that are the foundation of our energy system, together with the research, development, demonstration, and deployment opportunities to advance them

In total, 28 speakers and about 40 poster presentations rounded out the symposium. PNNL speakers included Lab Director Steven Ashby providing opening remarks; Wei Wang, who discussed materials and chemistries for redox flow batteries; and Yuyan Shao, who spoke on the chemistry of magnesium and zinc batteries.

DOE’s Patricia Hoffman Keynotes Energy Storage Symposium at PNNL
Symposium attendees view scientific technical posters in the Biological & Computational Sciences and Facilities at PNNL.
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To close out the event, attendees toured PNNL’s Advanced Battery Facility and Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, a global research user facility. They also visited the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, a nearby national facility for gravitational-wave research.

First organized in 2009, the symposium’s focus was to develop better energy storage for electric vehicles. This year's symposium included discussion on large-scale stationary batteries to support the power grid, as the grid's complexity has grown exponentially with the increasingly widespread use of intermittent wind and solar power.

The annual symposium is co-organized by five Department of Energy national laboratories, NASA and IBM. This is the second time PNNL has hosted the event.

More information is available on the BLI IX webpage.

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