Hydro Quebec, Berkeley Lab to team up on electric cars, energy storage

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Hydro-Québec and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have agreed to explore collaborations toward the research and development of manufacturing and scale-up technology to advance transportation electrification and energy storage, according to an Oct. 23 statement posted on the institutions’ websites.

The institutions have signed a memorandum of understanding to assess the feasibility of creating a Québec Berkeley joint research center based in the San Francisco Bay Area that will speed up development of next-generation battery materials, processes, and methodologies and conduct manufacturing from pilot scale to pre-production levels, the statement noted.

According to the statement, Québec and California have each set greenhouse gas reduction targets that affect the grid as well as the transportation sector:

·      The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 set a target of reducing state greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020

·      Québec’s Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate requires all automakers to generate ZEV credits equivalent to 3.5 percent of sales in 2018, increasing to 15.5 percent in 2020

As noted in the MOU, the MOU is between The Regents of the University of California, in its capacity as manager and operator of the LBNL, “and Hydro-Québec, operating l’Institut de recherche d’Hydro-Quebec, (IREQ), Research Institute of Hydro-Quebec,” collectively referred to as the participants.

The objective of the MOU is to explore collaboration between the participants in the fields of electrochemical generators, cells, batteries, packs, storage systems and related components and materials, the MOU noted.

To further the acceleration of the 2050 energy use goals of California and the United States, as well as Quebec and Canada, the participants will assess the feasibility of creating a California-based joint center focused on research and development and pilot scale manufacturing for product realization through which collaborative activities are conducted, the MOU noted.

The participants express their intention to collaborate in one or more of these areas, the MOU said:

·      Assessing the feasibility of the creation of a joint next-generation battery technology and pilot-scale manufacturing center in California

·      Developing funding sponsors for a next-generation battery technology development and pilot-scale manufacturing center

·      Developing a planned research portfolio and related works of authorship for next-generation battery technology

·      Jointly pursuing funding solicitations from the Province of Quebec, California, or other related funding opportunities that would support a next generation battery technology development and pilot-scale manufacturing center

·      Exploring organizational efficiencies and structures for the purpose of maximizing success of a next generation battery technology and pilot-scale manufacturing center

The MOU noted that each participant is to designate one or more principal coordinators to be in charge of the collaboration; the principal coordinator for The Regents is intended to be Venkat Srinivasan, staff scientist, or Rahul Chopra, senior advisor, while the designated representative for Hydro-Québec is intended to be Karim Zaghib, director, IREQ.

Among other things, the MOU said that cooperative activities may begin upon signature of all participants and continue for a 36-month period, unless, for instance, the participants discontinue the MOU by mutual written consent.

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