US Defence Department awards $30m for university storage campus

September 19, 2023

The US Department of Defense’s (DoD) Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, through its Manufacturing Capability Expansion and Investment Prioritization (MCEIP) office, has awarded $30 million to a three-year project to establish an energy storage systems campus. 

The University of Texas at Dallas spearheaded the successful bid, with a diverse consortium comprising a number of universities, emerging and established businesses, and four national laboratories. The energy storage systems campus is part of DoD’s Scaling Capacity and Accelerating Local Enterprises (SCALE) initiative which stimulates commercial investment and builds “sustainable markets” in technologies that are essential to national security. It is part of a portfolio of new MCEIP programmes designed to lower barriers for emerging domestic companies, while making it easier for commercial industry to expand their production in support of DoD and other national security customers.

The energy storage systems campus will leverage and stimulate more that $200 million in private capital, to accomplish three complementary objectives: optimising current lithium ion-based battery performance; accelerating development and production of next generation batteries; and ensuring the availability of raw materials needed for these batteries. It incorporates workforce development as a key pillar, bringing together universities, trade schools, and businesses to create job growth while upskilling the domestic workforce.

A DoD statement said the project would “accelerate transition and scaling of next generation batteries, while reducing dependence on scarce critical materials.”

Dr. Laura Taylor-Kale, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Base Policy, said: “The SCALE initiative is built on robust research that indicates market pull is needed to transition innovative technologies into new domestic industrial base capability and capacity. Our approach of aggregating demand across national security and commercial markets will generate that market pull, drastically reducing timelines to transition and scale emerging technologies.”