Building better batteries to provide renewable energy anytime, anywhere

January 16, 2018
By: Robert Sanders

Research on lithium ion batteries — the power source for cellphones and nearly every piece of electronics we use daily — began at UC Berkeley some 50 years ago.

Today, battery research continues on campus and at Berkeley Lab to create the next revolution: cheaper technology that can store the huge amount of renewable energy produced every day, yet wasted because it comes intermittently or when people need it least.

Ravi Prasher, an adjunct professor of mechanical engineering, and his colleagues at Berkeley Lab have pioneered efforts to use computing power to discover new materials for these batteries of the future. His group then synthesizes the materials and makes devices to test them in the real world. Researchers are doing what they must: moving toward a future when we can assure steady, flexible and economical clean energy.

In his May 2017 talk at Cal Future Forum, Prasher, the director of the Energy Storage and Distributed Resources Division at Berkeley Lab, described the group’s strategy for finding new materials for next-generation batteries that will allow us to use renewable energy on demand.