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Posted: May 19, 2009
GE Global Research to house a DOE EFRC Energy Frontier Research Center
(Nanowerk News) GE Global Research, the technology development arm for the General Electric Company, announced today that it has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of 46 new multi-million-dollar Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) being established across the country. The focus of GE's EFRC will be on advanced energy storage technologies and the pursuit of a zero carbon emissions solution for both transportation and stationary power applications.
The EFRCs were formed to pursue advanced scientific research on energy to help the nation become more energy independent. Of the 46 EFRCs selected, 31 are led by universities, 12 by DOE National Laboratories and two by nonprofit organizations. GE Global Research has the distinction of being the only corporate research laboratory chosen to lead an EFRC.
"As global energy demand grows over this century, there is an urgent need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and imported oil and curtail greenhouse gas emissions," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. "Meeting this challenge will require significant scientific advances. These Centers will mobilize the enormous talents and skills of our nation's scientific workforce in pursuit of the breakthroughs that are essential to make alternative and renewable energy truly viable as large-scale replacements for fossil fuels."
The 46 EFRCs will be funded at $2-5 million per year each for a planned initial five-year period. They were selected from a pool of some 260 applications that were received in response to a solicitation issued by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science in 2008. Selection was based on a rigorous merit review process utilizing outside panels composed of scientific experts.
"With GE Global Research's designation as an EFRC and last week's announcement of a new battery manufacturing facility for the Capital Region, we will create a thriving technology hub for advanced energy storage solutions in New York's Tech Valley corridor," said Mark Little, Senior Vice President and Director, GE Global Research. "As we seek to hybridize the transportation sector, increase the amount of energy we get from renewable power and build the future Smart Grid, energy storage will be a critical part of all these endeavors. The EFRC at GE Global Research greatly complement the already significant, ongoing research programs in advanced battery and energy storage technologies."
GE researchers are key drivers of GE's ecomagination initiative, which represents the company's commitment to developing and deploying innovative green technology and product solutions in big infrastructure areas such as energy. As part of this initiative, GE has committed to doubling its level of investment in clean technologies and products from $700 million in 2005 to more than $1.5 billion by 2010.
GE Global Research Center has a comprehensive sustainable energy technology portfolio, which includes major research activities in wind, solar, biofuels, carbon capture, energy efficiency, the Smart Grid and advanced battery and energy storage technologies. GE researchers are driving new technology advancements related to advanced batteries and energy storage that will redefine how we transport and power the world.
In transportation, GE technologists are developing new battery and energy storage devices that are more reliable, economical and achieve the level of performance necessary to enable the widespread hybridization of the transportation sector. In energy, cost-effective battery and energy storage technology could help to enable much higher penetrations of renewable energy resources.
Last Tuesday, GE announced plans to open a new, $100 million state-of-the-art battery manufacturing plant in Upstate New York that will serve as the main manufacturing facility for GE's newly formed battery business. It will be located in the Capital Region and create 350 new manufacturing jobs at GE and thousands more in the supply chain. The new plant will produce batteries for hybrid locomotives and other industries, including mining, telecommunications and utility.
"If successful, the proposed research will lead to technology development of viable high-density, zero-carbon emissions energy storage systems for mobile and stationary applications," said Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik, Director of GE's EFRC. "GE's EFRC includes planned collaborations with scientists at Yale University, Stanford University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and will be a perfect training ground for a new generation of electrochemists and energy scientists."
EFRC researchers will take advantage of new capabilities in nanotechnology, high-intensity light sources, neutron scattering sources, supercomputing, and other advanced instrumentation, much of it developed with DOE Office of Science support over the past decade, in an effort to lay the scientific groundwork for fundamental advances in solar energy, biofuels, transportation, energy efficiency, electricity storage and transmission, clean coal and carbon capture and sequestration, and nuclear energy.