18 August 2009
The CSIRO-invented UltraBattery is set for accelerated development with the US Government awarding US$32.5 million ($39.5 million) to US manufacturer East Penn to produce the battery. UltraBattery won the ARRA funding in a competitive selection process conducted by the US Department of Energy.
The grant is part of US$2.4 billion ($2.92 billion) in funding for 48 advanced battery and electric-drive projects announced by President Barack Obama in August under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). According to the research organisation, the president’s commitment is the largest ever single investment in advanced battery technology for hybrid and electric-drive vehicles.
Developed by CSIRO, the UltraBattery combines a supercapacitor and a lead acid battery in a single unit, creating a hybrid car battery that provides comparable performance but costs less than current technologies used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).
CSIRO licensed the UltraBattery technology to Furukawa Battery Company to commercialise the technology in Japan and Thailand, and further granted permission for Furukawa to sub-license the technology to East Penn for commercialisation and distribution to the automotive and motive power sector throughout North America, Mexico and Canada. The technology is not yet licensed in Australia for automotive applications and CSIRO is accepting expressions of interest for manufacture and distribution of the technology in this region.
“The [US] Department of Energy grant marks a significant endorsement of UltraBattery by the US Government,” says Dr Alex Wonhas, CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship Director. “UltraBattery is an exciting product that could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector.”