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Press Release | Argonne National Laboratory

Babinec to coordinate Argonne’s grid energy storage program

New program lead to help realize Argonne’s future grid vision.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory is pleased to announce the appointment of Susan Babinec to the position of Program Lead – Grid Storage. In this capacity, Babinec will drive a comprehensive strategy that expands Argonne’s future grid vision to include a range of optimized energy storage capabilities. By integrating its deep resources in grid design and energy storage with national and industry needs, Argonne will provide innovative solutions for the future grid. 

According to Venkat Srinivasan, director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science, The modernization of the electric grid is essential to U.S. prosperity and security. For this reason, the electric grid program is a key component of Argonne’s research portfolio, and we are pleased to have Susan Babinec as a new member of the team.”

The modernization of the electric grid is essential to U.S. prosperity and security. For this reason, the electric grid program is a key component of Argonne’s research portfolio, and we are pleased to have Susan Babinec as a new member of the team.”  — Venkat Srinivasan, director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science

About her new role, Babinec says, The global demand for energy storage solutions for the future grid is more intense than ever, and the range of solutions continues to rapidly evolve, but devising the best path forward is highly complex. Argonne will bring to bear on this problem its incredible capabilities in both grid design and energy storage. This will involve combining economic analysis and performance-driven designs with inspirational research to produce practical solutions for deployment.”

Argonne has appointed Susan Babinec as Program Lead – Grid Storage. In this role, she will drive a comprehensive strategy that expands Argonne’s future grid vision to include a range of optimized energy storage capabilities. (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)

In her role, Babinec will draw upon the many resources in Argonne’s world-class energy storage program. This program has a long track record of important R&D advances for lithium-ion batteries and new battery chemistries for transportation, which will be fine-tuned for the electric grid. Recently, researchers in the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, which is led by Argonne, pioneered new flow battery concepts for the grid.

The program also is home to state-of-the-art facilities for life-cycle testing and failure analysis, design and characterization of new battery concepts, powerful modeling capabilities for economic and performance analyses of both the grid and energy storage and supercomputing resources for handling the big data needed for developing a modern grid system.

Argonne has always been a leader in energy storage, and will now be adding to that rich history as it expands its grid storage efforts and partners its storage program more closely with its multidisciplinary grid team,” Babinec said. Grid storage is poised for rapid expansion, and Argonne can provide the needed insights and leadership required to make a significant impact. I am fortunate to join this impressive team!”

Babinec previously served as senior commercialization advisor at the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), guiding commercialization of breakthrough energy storage technologies for both transportation and grid. She has spent her career focused on research in materials, electro-active materials, displays, sensors, and electrochemistry, and recently has extensive experience in both early stage technology development, scale-up and commercialization of energy storage. Prior to ARPA-E, she led several research groups as a technical director for A123 Systems, Inc. at its Ann Arbor, Michigan, site.

Babinec spent the first two decades of her career at Dow Chemical Corp., where she was awarded the Inventor of the Year Award, was the company’s first woman Corporate Fellow, and initiated the battery program. Her role there also included scientist partner to the Dow Venture Capital Organization – Physical Sciences, leading technical analysis of investment opportunities and hands-on partnering in start-up investments.  She was co-inventor of a low-cost display technology that was spun out as the venture-funded start-up, holds more than 45 patents, and has authored or co-authored dozens of journal articles and book chapters.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.