The defining challenge of this century will be to meet the energy needs of a global population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050 while slashing the balance of planet-warming greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere to nearly zero.
To meet this challenge, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory pursues an ambitious portfolio of research to support a 100% clean-energy economy. This includes work to modernize the U.S. electric grid, create advanced materials for solar cells and batteries, design portable nuclear micro reactors and accelerate more efficient ways of getting around.
For the electric grid, Argonne has created specialized computer models and tools, some of which incorporate artificial intelligence. These can provide utilities with data-based guidance for planning for scenarios ranging from hurricanes to earthquakes to cyberattacks. Argonne’s Hurricane Electric Assessment Damage Outage (HEADOUT) modeling tool, for example, forecasts likely power outages after a storm.
For next-generation energy storage that can power electric vehicles and support renewable energy on the grid, Argonne researchers are exploring different materials that may be less expensive and easier to obtain than current battery ingredients. At the ReCell Center, they are also finding methods to recover those materials from spent batteries to reduce our reliance on foreign sources.
Generating and storing power is only part of the picture. In a society that’s increasingly connected on a global scale, we need to rethink how we move both people and goods. Argonne scientists who have worked for decades on ways to improve efficiency and reduce emissions from gas-fueled cars and trucks are also turning to aviation, electric and self-driving cars, hydrogen fueling and other aspects of mobility.
Argonne, which marks its 75th anniversary this year, today is building on decades of pioneering leadership and pivotal discoveries. Collaborating with experts from across research institutions and industries, we’re now developing tomorrow’s energy solutions to scale up and deploy across the U.S. and the world.