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The Australian-invented UltraBattery is set for accelerated development in the United States with the US Government awarding a grant of $US32.5 million to manufacturer East Penn to produce the battery.

The battery was developed by Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and East Penn has won funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)  in a competitive selection process conducted by the US Department of Energy.

The CSIRO said the grant to East Penn was part of $US2.4 billion in funding for 48 advanced battery and electric-drive projects announced by President Barack Obama this month under the ARRAA, and the company would use the grant to increase production of the UltraBattery for micro and mild hybrid applications.

CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship Director, Dr Alex Wonhas, said President Obama’s commitment was the largest ever single investment in advanced battery technology for hybrid and electric-drive vehicles and aims to accelerate the manufacturing and deployment of batteries and electric vehicles in the US.

Dr Wonhas said the UltraBattery combines a supercapacitor and a lead acid battery in a single unit, creating a hybrid car battery that provides comparable performance but costs considerably less than current technologies used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

The CSIRO licensed the UltraBattery technology to Furukawa Battery Company to commercialise the technology in Japan and Thailand, and further granted permission for Furukawa to sub-license the technology to East Penn for commercialisation and distribution to the automotive and motive power sector throughout North America, Mexico and Canada.

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Dr Wonhas said he was pleased to see an Australian-developed technology achieving success in the international arena, and the Department of Energy grant marked a significant endorsement of UltraBattery by the US Government.

“UltraBattery is an exciting product that could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector and CSIRO is thrilled to be working closely with East Penn to develop the technology in North America.

“The collaboration and UltraBattery’s ongoing success reinforces the valuable link between quality research and commercial development.”

Dr Wonhas said the UltraBattery technology was not yet licensed in Australia for automotive applications and the CSIRO was accepting expressions of interest for manufacture and distribution of the technology in this region.

According to Dr Wonhas, the UltraBattery technology also has applications for renewable energy storage from wind and solar, and CSIRO was part of a technology start-up that would develop and commercialise battery-based storage solutions for these energy sources.

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