Berkeley Lab hosts National Energy Storage Summit

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Hsi-Min Chan/File
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory held a summit regarding future methods for energy storage aimed at decarbonization and increasing energy efficiency.

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The National Energy Storage Summit, hosted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, began Tuesday, connecting industry leaders and researchers from around the nation to initiate conversations about the future of energy storage.

The two-day virtual summit focused on encouraging initiatives for a clean energy future, and creating solutions to the ongoing national energy storage challenges, according to an address by Berkeley Lab Energy Storage Center executive director Noël Bakhtian.

“We’ll look to emphasize bold but feasible solutions that are ready for deployment now and in the years to come,” Bakhtian said.

The summit was organized by more than 100 personnel across Berkeley Lab and other national labs in the course of nine months, according to Bakhtian.

Keynote speakers endorsing the event included U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and deputy director for Energy and Chief Strategist for the Energy Transition at the White House, Sally Benson.

“Energy storage would be a critical component of reaching our renewable energy goals and combating the climate crisis,” Padilla said.

Several panels were showcased both days, surrounding topics that included energy-intense industries and leveraging U.S. manufacturing innovations.

A panel featuring the national blueprint for lithium battery productions discussed the potential barriers and benefits of a domestic battery supply chain among a variety of subjects pertaining to domestic battery production.

“We are still reliant on imports for refined materials and also because manufacturing has been absent,” said Ruby Nguyen, a project lead at the Critical Materials Institute and group lead of System Dynamics and Modeling at Idaho National Lab.

A pitchfest on the topic of energy-intensive industries involved competitors offering individual solutions with regard to energy storage practices. Participants elaborated on their own proposed solutions to questions and difficulties raised during the forum.

The panel began with a Q&A session, initiating a conversation about what the panelists believed are “low-hanging fruit” for near-term decarbonization using energy storage

Adrienne Little, vice president of systems engineering at Antora Energy, elaborated on the steam production industry, noting that these industries do not have many options for decarbonization.

“There are real potential opportunities for energy storage in the near term to decarbonize these sectors by enhancing our energy efficiency,” said deputy head of the sustainable energy and environmental systems department at Berkeley Lab Hanna Breunig during the panel.

Breunig added that this could be done through the recovery of storage and waste heat as well as the conversion of waste onsight to thermal and electrical systems.

Closing out the event, Bakhtian encouraged future generations of leaders to contribute to potential solutions for the challenges faced in the energy storage industry.

“Now let’s get to work,” Bakhtian said. “Develop, discover and deploy.”

Contact Kai Lock at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @kaalockk.