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Alternative food companies seek star power to cut through the crowd

The U.S. Department of Energy is launching initiatives to address new battery technology innovations and shore up the country’s insufficient supply chains to enable a new, electric, economy.

As part of that effort the DOE is pouring $209 million into early stage research and development around electric and connected vehicles and advanced battery technologies.

The new funding coincides with the launch of a new public private partnership between Argonne National Laboratory to find ways to boost the domestic battery supply chain.

Called Li-Bridge, the new push is focused on improving coordination among different stakeholders in the domestic battery industry in the U.S.

“The new Li-Bridge alliance announced today is a major step forward in developing and sustaining a robust, domestic supply chain for batteries, which will be critical to vehicle electrification,” said Michael Berube, deputy assistant secretary for sustainable transportation at DOE, in a statement. “This coordination between public and private entities across the nation is paramount to achieving our vision of establishing a battery materials and technology supply chain that supports long-term U.S. economic competitiveness.”

Meanwhile, the funding that the Department of Energy is funneling into 26 different research and development projects at national laboratories around the country are designed to achieve specific goals for the future of electrification.

They are: reducing the cost and size of battery tech; advancing fast charging to allow for under fifteen minute battery charging; understanding and reducing the stress millions of electric vehicles will place on the current electricity grid; and improving smart vehicle technology to reduce energy use and emissions.

“President Biden’s Administration wants to make it easier for millions of American families and businesses to make the switch to electric vehicles,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, in a statement. “By developing smarter vehicle batteries, we can make these technologies cheaper and more accessible, while positioning America to be become a global leader of EV infrastructure production and clean energy jobs.”

Beneficiaries of these research efforts include Michigan, New York, and Colorado, along with labs in the Pacific Northwest and Tennessee.

“NREL and the state of Colorado continue to lead the development of innovative energy storage and battery technologies that reduce our carbon emissions,” said Colorado Senator Michael Bennet. “These projects are exactly the type of research the federal government should invest in to decarbonize our energy system, modernize our infrastructure, support the growing domestic clean energy industries, and combat climate change.”

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