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Department of Energy investing nearly $11M for UM to study and improve electric batteries

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Electric car

The Department of Energy is investing nearly $11 million dollars into the University of Michigan to study and improve electric batteries.

Electric batteries are going to be a big part of our society’s future as we try to minimize the effects of climate change. The federal funding will create the Energy Frontier Research Center within U-M’s College of Engineering. The school will then collaborate with engineering programs at other universities.

With electric vehicle expansion on the horizon, the battery industry is attempting to move away from liquid-based lithium-ion batteries to potentially safer and more efficient ceramic ion conductors. These are also known as solid state batteries.

Jeff Sakamoto is a mechanical engineering professor at U-M.

“That’s the technology we’re targeting. Whatever science we do, that will benefit the solid-state batteries technology. And whatever science we do will accelerate the commercialization of solid-state batteries.”

Sakamoto says, going forward, the key is going to be workforce development. He says training the next generation of battery engineers is crucial because batteries are here to stay.

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Josh Hakala is the general assignment reporter for the WEMU news department.
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