The Argonne National Laboratory received a $120 million federal grant that could help slash dependence on foreign oil, U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Western Springs) announced Thursday.
Argonne, a non-profit research lab operated by the University of Chicago for the Department of Energy, will devote the grant to developing revolutionary battery technology for transportation and the electric grid, according to a news release from Lipinski's office.
The federal funding will be delivered over five years and "has the potential of creating a revolution in battery technology that slashes dependence on foreign oil and makes our region the worldwide leader in battery manufacturing," the news release stated.
"This award sets up Argonne National Laboratory to be the world leader in an emerging field that will promote American energy independence, make green energy more available and affordable and grow manufacturing in the region," said Lipinski, a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
The center’s primary objective is to develop more effective and cheaper energy storage solutions and batteries, according to the release. The research is anticipated to reduce the cost of electric vehicles, making them more competitive with cars that run on gasoline, while also opening up new possibilities for wind and solar power storage.
"The worldwide battery market is roughly $95 billion and has the potential for exponential growth," Lipinski said. "The communities around Argonne National Laboratory are now poised to be central to this huge market."
Gov. Pat Quinn said during a press conference at Argonne Friday that the center would turn Illinois into the "battery capital of the United States of America."
Energy storage is a $42 billion industry that is growing at a rate of 8 percent a year, he said. Because of that growth, bringing the hub of the industry to Illinois will also bring jobs to the state.
"We want to keep our scientists, our inventors and our innovators right here in the land of Lincoln," he said.
Lauren Williamson contributed to this report.