Grant will help professor develop battery to aid home energy use

Peter Pintauro

Peter Pintauro, H. Eugene McBrayer Professor of Chemical Engineering and chair of the chemical and biomolecular engineering department, has partnered with researchers from the University of Kansas and TVN Systems, Inc. on a three-year, $1.72 million grant from the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) of the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a durable, low-cost battery capable of gathering power at off-peak hours and storing it for use during times of high demand.

Research from this project has the potential to reduce stress on the nation’s strained power grid and increase energy savings for consumers. The project is one of 19 transformative new projects that will receive a total of $43 million in funding from ARPA-E to leverage the nation’s brightest scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to develop breakthrough energy storage technologies and support promising small businesses.

This grant seeks to transition energy storage technology from the laboratory to industry and builds on new knowledge and materials that were discovered through a $2 million National Science Foundation grant that University of Kansas School of Engineering professor Trung Van Nguyen and other collaborators received in 2010 to develop flow battery technologies.

Among other key areas for improvement, the Energy Department has identified energy storage at the community and residential level as a main goal. The team is researching a battery that could be manufactured for use in households for around $1,000.

The battery would be installed during new home construction or major renovation. The idea is to safely enclose it in a 3-foot by 3-foot strongbox and then bury it in the ground. It would be self-contained and could store enough charge to last about four hours while creating no waste or byproducts.

The team is set to officially receive the grant and begin work on the project starting early October.