American Chemistry MattersA Blog of the American Chemistry Council

American Chemistry Matters

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“Electrolyte” is my middle name: Dow and Ube take energy storage to the next level with Advanced Electrolyte Technologies

Putting something valuable away for future use – storing it – is an everyday investment that can yield big returns, especially when it comes to storing energy. Batteries, for example, despite being one of the more commonplace tools we rely on to power our lives, once revolutionized the way we store energy. And, thanks to chemistry, they’re on the verge of doing it again.

In fact, the battery revolution can’t happen without chemistry. It’s why Dow Chemical Company has partnered with Japanese chemical company Ube Industries in a joint venture to enhance the performance of lithium-ion batteries, one of the most popular rechargeable batteries on the market today. The venture company, Advanced Electrolyte Technologies (AET), secured regulatory approval this week and is set manufacture formulated electrolytes – a key ingredient in electric cars and other potential storage systems. A new AET manufacturing facility in Midland is expected to produce up to 5,000 tons of electrolytes per year and promises to bring new jobs to the state.

David Klanecky, senior business director at Dow Energy, said in a news release:

[quote]We are excited to develop this partnership with Ube and add formulated electrolyte technology to enhance Dow’s portfolio of lithium-ion battery components. This joint venture is an opportunity to bring together Ube’s electrolyte technology with Dow’s global supply network and materials science expertise to enhance the performance of lithium-ion batteries.[/quote]

Lauren Craig with Earth Techling notes the importance of energy storage systems to our energy future, especially as we transition to alternative energy sources such as wind and solar, which fluctuate with variable weather patterns. When it’s overcast or the wind isn’t blowing, for example, it’s important to have batteries for large-scale energy storage in place to provide consumers with the energy they need, when they need it.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is acutely aware of the importance of energy storage innovations not only when immediate supply goes down, but also when demand for power goes up – a period known as “peak load.” According to the DOE website:

[quote]Developing technology to store electrical energy so it can be available to meet demand whenever needed would represent a major breakthrough in electricity distribution.[/quote]

So, kudos to Dow Chemical and Ube Industries, among many others, for employing chemistry to light the path forward.

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