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$11.8M Federal Funding for New CAER Research Facility

CAER New Research Building Drawing

The University of Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) has been awarded an $11.8 million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to expand laboratory facilities and intensify energy research efforts at the Kentucky-Argonne National Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center.

The grant provides funding to expand the center's research capabilities with a new 36,000-square-foot building dedicated to research in the biomass and biofuels industries; advanced distributed power generation and storage; and technologies for electric vehicles. The facility will be constructed at the Spindletop Research site in Lexington, Kentucky.

Accompanying the $11.8 million, an additional $3 million investment will be added from the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The new facility will include labs for process development, prototype manufacturing and testing to support applied research on batteries, capacitors, solar energy materials and biofuels. A portion of the new facility will be equipped specifically for capacitor and battery manufacturing research. The Kentucky Biofuels Laboratory, an analytical laboratory managed as an open-access user facility, will also be located within the new expansion.

January 2010 Press Conference to annouce new CAER Building
Left to Right: Dr. John Anthony, CAER Director Dr. Rodney Andrews, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Dr. Mark Crocker, Dr. Steve Lipka, Mr. Don Challman, and UK President Dr. Lee Todd. All are involved in bringing the building about.

In December, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority also awarded another $3.5 million in funding for equipment purchases for the battery R&D center.

The Kentucky-Argonne Battery Manufacturing Research and Development Center is a partnership of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville established to advance the science and engineering of manufacturing technology for advanced batteries, including lithium-ion batteries for vehicle applications. The center aims to become the leading research and development institution in the United States for inventing and developing new manufacturing processes for lithium-ion battery cells. Improving manufacturing process technology for lithium-ion cells is critical to increasing the energy density and lowering the cost of lithium-ion batteries.

The building is expected to be completed by fall 2011.