The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced awards for eight new designs for microbatteries, through its Microbattery Design Prize. This prize aims to accelerate the commercialization of these innovative microbattery designs, along with their integration into the existing technologies needed for clean energy manufacturing. In addition to automatically advancing to phase two of this prize, each selected project will receive an award consisting of $75,000 in a cash prize along with performance and safety testing services with DOE National Laboratories. 

Currently, the microbattery market is unable to leverage many of the existing manufacturing processes of the larger battery supply chain ecosystem, due to the requirements associated with their small size. This presents a major barrier to the development and commercialization of new microbattery chemistries and designs, along with an opportunity to increase domestic production and secure supply chains.  

“From powering sensor systems for improved smart manufacturing processes to running sensors for grid monitoring, microbatteries are becoming more and more crucial for clean energy manufacturing scale-up and smart technology innovation,” said Jeff Marootian, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “As our nation rapidly transitions to a clean energy future, the ability for us to domestically produce a wide range of microbatteries is going to be hugely important for achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s clean energy goals of achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.” 

The eight selected projects were chosen as winners of the first phase of this two-phase Microbattery Design Prize. In this first ‘Ideas’ phase, competitors developed and submitted technical designs and schematics for microbatteries that serve a specific application (like a grid monitoring devices) and meet certain performance goals (like a specific storage capacity, cycle lifetime, safety, or recyclability) that go beyond what is commercially available today.  

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