Sharp awarded $2.9M to develop sodium-ion battery

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Sharp Laboratories of America, based in Camas, was awarded more than $2.9 million in federal funding to develop a sodium-ion-based battery, one of 66 projects to win Energy Department research dollars, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced Wednesday.

In a news release, the Energy Department says Sharp's battery "will dramatically increase battery cycle life at a low cost, while maintaining a high-energy capacity."

If successful, the department said, the battery would surpass the cost targets for the year 2015 for stationary energy storage and facilitate adoption of renewable energy technology.

In total, the department awarded $130 million in funding through its "OPEN 2012" program, which supports groundbreaking technologies that show fundamental technical promise but are too early for private sector investment. The selected projects encompass 11 technology areas in 24 states.

Other funding recipients in Washington were: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, which received $1.6 million to develop high-performance computing algorithms and software to use power transmission lines in the electric grid more efficiently; and the University of Washington in Seattle, which received $4 million to develop microbes that convert methane found in natural gas into liquid diesel fuel.