For geothermal fields around the world, produced geothermal brine has been simply injected back underground, but now it’s become clear that the brines produced at the Salton Sea geothermal field contain an immense amount of lithium, a critical resource need for low-carbon transportation and energy storage. Demand for lithium is skyrocketing, as it is an essential ingredient in lithium-ion batteries. Currently there is very little lithium production in the U.S. and most lithium is imported; however, that may change in the near future.
The recent dramatic decline in battery prices has created a new possibility for electrification of freight trains. Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, collaborating with UCLA and UC Berkeley researchers, make the case that the U.S. can retrofit diesel-electric trains with batteries in a way that is cost-competitive with diesel. Doing so would avoid up to 1,000 premature deaths and save the U.S. freight rail sector $94 billion over 20 years from reduced air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.
Could a tank of ice or hot water be a battery? Yes! If a battery is a device for storing energy, then storing hot or cold water to power a building’s heating or air-conditioning system is a different type of energy storage. Known as thermal energy storage, the technology has been around for a long time but has often been overlooked. Now scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are making a concerted push to take thermal energy storage to the next level.
Berkeley Lab has been awarded more than $13 million for five research projects that will accelerate the development of advanced lithium batteries and smart, connected vehicles, making it easier to switch to electric vehicles.
Berkeley Lab team combines thermal and electrochemistry expertise to make battery testing cheaper and faster.
A multi-institutional research team co-led by Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source has measured at unprecedented detail how leaking oxygen atoms change an electrode’s structure and chemistry, and eventually reduce how much energy a lithium-ion battery can store.
X-ray beams at the Advanced Light Source allowed researchers to “see” oxygen gas molecules adhere to a specially prepared electrode surface, an important step in the electrochemical reaction taking place in fuel cells.
An international research team led by scientists at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory developed a new apparatus at Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source (ALS) that could help improve the efficiency of hydrogen fuel generation.
An international team working at Berkeley Lab used a unique X-ray instrument to learn new things about lithium-rich battery materials that have been the subject of much study for their potential to extend the range of electric vehicles and the operation of electronic devices.
A research team led by Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry has developed a lithium-selective polymer membrane that could allow high-voltage battery cells to operate at higher power and more efficiently, important factors for both electric vehicles and aircraft.