The United States Department of Energy has awarded Caltech an $18.5 million contract to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery system, with the goal of powering 200 million cars by 2025.
The $18 million contract is part of the $4.5 billion Energy Department’s $1.2 trillion Energy Infrastructure Investment Program, or EITP, which was announced last week.
The DOE is seeking companies that will build batteries for the grid, as well as for other applications such as powering the power grid for the first time in decades.
“The lithium-iron battery will deliver reliable energy storage at lower cost, and enable the development of a reliable and resilient electric grid,” said Dr. David L. Buehner, director of the Energy Department Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
“These batteries will make the transition to electric vehicles a reality for millions of Americans, and the success of the project will contribute to improving the U.S. energy grid.”
Caltech and its partners will develop a battery system with about 70 percent of the capacity of a typical lithium-polymer battery system.
The new system will be built by the University of California, Berkeley, and is expected to have the capacity to store up to 300 megawatt hours of electricity.
Caltech officials say the batteries are expected to last about 25 years.
The new system is expected cost less than $3 billion.
Caltrans, which is overseeing the project, expects to build about 2,000 battery systems in the U, as the state is expected grow to about 10 million people.
The contract is in addition to a $7.7 million award to the University at Albany, which developed a lithium-air battery.
A team led by James E. Phelan, associate professor of electrical engineering and director of Caltech’s Battery Technology Research Center, will build and test the system.
“We’re very excited about this collaboration and look forward to working with Caltech to provide more innovative solutions to a long-standing problem in the battery industry,” said University at Buffalo President Christopher J. Gass.
“The work we’ve done together has the potential to bring significant economic benefits to the region.”
The EITPs funding is part for Caltech, along with $2.8 million from the Department of Defense, which will help pay for research and development and other projects, including work on battery systems for military bases.
The Army also awarded $2 million in funding to Caltech last year for battery development.
The Department of Interior has awarded $1 million to CalTech for research in battery systems, along the line of the work being done by the Army.
The project is one of several EITCs being developed by the Energy Office.
The Department of Transportation has awarded a $2 billion grant to Caltrans for a “new generation” battery system that will be designed to store and charge a large volume of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
A Department of Agriculture study is in the works for a battery that could power a massive grid.
And last month, the Department Of Energy announced a $25 million award for CalTech to develop a lithium battery system for commercial electric vehicle charging.
The DOE has been trying to solve some of the biggest energy problems facing the U; one of the most pressing is grid resilience.
The grid is the power system for all Americans.
CalTech is part the consortium that will develop batteries that could reduce the need for massive, expensive grid upgrades.