Utah battery innovators get $5 million in federal grants
Published: August 2, 2012 04:53PM
Updated: August 2, 2012 04:40PM

The federal Department of Energy on Thursday announced nearly $5 million in grants to Utah researchers to support the development of next-generation battery technologies.

The round of funding came as part of $43 million released by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E.

Utah State University will get $3 million to develop advanced battery management systems that will optimize the performance of each cell in a battery pack. The goal is reduce the cost of vehicle batteries by 25 percent.

“This latest round of ARPA-E projects seek to address the remaining challenges in energy storage technologies, which could revolutionize the way Americans store and use energy in electric vehicles, the grid and beyond, while also potentially improving the access to energy for the U.S. military at forward operating bases in remote areas,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in a press statement. “These cutting-edge projects could transform our energy infrastructure, dramatically reduce our reliance on imported oil and increase American energy security.”

Also winning funding is the Salt Lake City firm Materials & Systems Research, Inc., or MSRI, which is to receive $1.73 million in Small Business Innovation Research money to improve sodium battery membranes. The idea is to make the membranes stronger, safer, longer-lasting and less costly to produce.

Brian Maffly