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Battery & Other Energy Storage Boosted by US Government

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has just published the findings of report that found 39 separate battery and energy storage initiatives with a variety of key characteristics had been implemented across six US agencies.

The six agencies — the Departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) — required $1.3 billion over the fiscal years from 2009 to 2012 and supported a variety of technologies, uses, advancement activities, and goals.

The funding provided through the six agencies was available to several types of recipients, such as private industry, universities, and federal labs, through contracts, grants, and other mechanisms.

Federal Agency Battery and Energy Storage Initiatives and Funding Obligations, Fiscal Years 2009 through 2012
Agency Number of obligations Funding obligations
DOE 11 $851,994,808
DOD 14 430,274,229
NASA 8 20,811,374
NSF 4 8,582,868
EPA 1 3,258,029
NIST 1 1,375,000
Total 39 $1,316,296,308

The GAO was requested to complete the study on behalf of US Representative Ralph Hall, Chairman of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology; and Andy Harris, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. It was asked to:

  1. identify the scope and key characteristics of federal battery and energy storage initiatives;
  2. determine the extent to which there is potential fragmentation, overlap, or duplication, if any, among these initiatives; and
  3. determine the extent to which agencies coordinate these initiatives.

The “GAO found  that initiatives were fragmented and had overlapping characteristics but did not find clear evidence of duplication.” And though there were some overlap in terms of what the funding went towards, in most cases this overlap was mission- or agency-specific.

Of the initiatives found, 21 of the 39 supported more than one kind of battery or other energy storage technology, and initiatives supported on average two technologies.

Number of Initiatives Supporting Each Type of Technology
Technology Number of initiatives
Li-ion batteries 28
Metal-air batterie 19
Capacitors 17
Lithium-metal batteries 16
Basic energy storage research 14
Advanced lead-acid batteries 11
Redox flow batteries 9
Sodium batteries 9
Flywheels 4
Other 15
Numbers total more than 39 because many initiatives supported more than one type of technology.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office via Green Car Congress


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