by Jeff Engel, Reporter, The Business Journal
Johnson Controls Inc. has joined a partnership to establish a battery and energy storage research center southwest of Chicago, which the U.S. Department of Energy will award up to $120 million over five years, according to an announcement Friday.
Argonne National Laboratory will lead the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research to be built at Argonne’s suburban Chicago campus. Other partners include several Illinois universities, the University of Michigan, Dow Chemical Co., Applied Materials Inc. and Clean Energy Trust.
Argonne, perhaps best known for developing the battery technology used in the Chevrolet Volt, is home to more than 1,250 scientists and engineers and is managed by UChicago Argonne LLC.
Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) is a Glendale-based manufacturer of automotive interior systems and batteries and provider of facility management systems and services.
The initiative will combine efforts at several independent research programs into a larger, coordinated effort, the Energy Department said.
“This is a partnership between world-leading scientists and world-leading companies, committed to ensuring that the advanced battery technologies the world needs will be invented and built right here in America,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in a press release. “Based on the tremendous advances that have been made in the past few years, there are very good reasons to believe that advanced battery technologies can and will play an increasingly valuable role in strengthening America’s energy and economic security by reducing our oil dependence, upgrading our aging power grid and allowing us to take greater advantage of intermittent energy sources like wind and solar.”
Illinois is providing $5 million to help build the center’s facility. Gov. Pat Quinn will also seek another $30 million in state dollars for future capital funding for the building, according to a press release.
The center is the fourth energy innovation hub established by the Energy Department since 2010. Other such initiatives include modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors, achieving improvements in the energy efficiency of buildings and developing fuels from sunlight.Jeff Engel is The Business Journal’s reporter covering the manufacturing industry and technology.