Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and CalCEF Create CalCharge to Unite California’s Battery Industry.
CalCEF, which creates institutions and investment vehicles for the clean energy economy, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) today announced a partnership to launch CalCharge, a consortium uniting California’s emerging and established battery technology companies with critical academic and government resources. By bringing together the dozens of battery companies and institutions in California working on applications for consumer electronics batteries, electric/hybrid vehicle transportation and the electric grid, Berkeley Lab, CalCEF, along with other Bay Area academic institutions, aim to create a regional ecosystem for innovation in energy storage that will not only jumpstart a new era of battery technologies but also help ensure that U.S. companies succeed in this highly competitive environment.
CalCharge is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership working to accelerate the timeline of energy storage commercialization and market adoption through technology assistance, workforce training and market education. Members will have access to Berkeley Lab’s world-class scientific facilities and personnel, including testing and diagnostics equipment not available to many startup companies. CalCharge offers a streamlined and more affordable channel for Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and similar arrangements. These allow firms to access technical resources at the Lab, which will help scale battery innovations from the bench to the market.
California has emerged as the epicenter of battery innovation in the U.S., with more than 30 startups and large companies concentrated in the Bay Area alone. The state has consistently led battery technology patent registrations, reaching 258 filings from 2008 to 2010—more than the next three leading states combined—according to the 2012 California Green Innovation Index, an annual economic filing published by Next 10. What’s more, in 2011 venture capital investment in energy storage grew thirteen-fold over the previous year, making up 11 percent of the total VC investment in clean technology for the state.
Cheaper and higher-performing batteries are critical to our nation’s clean energy future—underscored by the White House’s call for decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Nationwide efforts are also underway to modernize our antiquated electric grid for increased renewable energy integration and grid-scale batteries are an essential element. California has also made strides to support battery technology development this year. It adopted the world’s first energy efficiency standards for battery chargers and enacted the second round of the Advanced Clean Car Rules, which targets a 34 percent reduction in GHG emissions from 2016 levels by 2025.
CalCEF works to promote the transition to a clean energy economy by creating institutions and investment vehicles that grow markets for clean energy technologies.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. (5/29/12)
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June 1, 2012 – Vol. 17 No.11