The U.S. Department of Energy plans to launch a new Energy Innovation Hub for advanced research on batteries and energy storage with an investment of up to $120 million over five years. The hub, which will be funded at up to $20 million in fiscal year 2012, will focus on accelerating research and development of electrochemical energy storage for transportation and the electric grid. The interdisciplinary research and development through the new Energy Innovation Hub will help advance cutting-edge energy storage and battery technologies that can be used to improve the reliability and the efficiency of the electrical grid, to better integrate clean, renewable energy technologies as part of the electrical system, and for use in electric and hybrid vehicles that will reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Energy Innovation Hubs are designed to bring together teams of scientists and engineers across intellectual disciplines to rapidly accelerate scientific discoveries and shorten the path from laboratory innovation to technological development and commercial deployment of critical energy technologies.

The goal of the Batteries and Energy Storage Hub will be to deliver research leading to revolutionary new technologies. While advancing the current understanding and underlying science around energy storage, the role of the new hub will be to develop radically new scientific approaches, including the exploration of new materials, devices, systems and novel approaches for transportation and utility-scale storage. The hub should foster new energy storage designs and develop working, scalable prototype devices that demonstrate radically new approaches for electrochemical storage, overcoming current manufacturing limitations through innovation to reduce complexity and cost. The ultimate goal will be to surpass the current technical limits for electrochemical energy storage and reduce the risk level enough for industry to further develop the innovations discovered by the hub and deploy these new technologies into the marketplace.

Letters of Intent to apply are due on March 1, 2012 with full applications due on May 31, 2012. Universities, national laboratories, nonprofit organizations, and private firms are eligible to compete and are encouraged to form partnerships when submitting their proposals. The award selection is expected this summer.