Advanced Energy Storage and Highly Efficient Photovoltaics Take Transportation Off the Gasoline Grid and Residential Off the Electric Grid

In a special presentation at the “Beyond Lithium Ion: Computational Perspectives” conference held at Argonne National Laboratory, Dr. Gil Weigand of Oak Ridge National Laboratory outlined his vision of a critical solution to the energy, climate and ensuing national security threats facing the US: the Net-Zero Neighborhood (NZN).

The Net-Zero Neighborhood is based on local generation using renewables; distributed energy storage in proportion to the population; electric transportation as an integral part of energy storage; energy becoming a consumer commodity that is bought and sold in a local marketplace; and a new jobs base in the form of local energy service providers.


The plan requires significant scientific advances; key technology drivers for the NZN are highly energy dense, mass-market, interchangeable energy storage products (e.g., batteries); the creation of grid-enabled consumer-side energy generation appliances; and a robust set of standards and protocols.

Weigand is looking for a “500-mile battery” such as a Li-O2 (Lithium air) thin film nano-technology system and for 50% efficient photovoltaic cells. (Weigand also noted that “I’m not selecting a technology—when I say battery, fuel cell is fine with me.”)

Weigand, a former assistant energy secretary and Time Warner technology executive, is currently the director of strategic programs and planning with the Computing and Computational Sciences directorate of ORNL. Weigand served in several management positions with the Department of Energy (DOE) during the late 1990s and received the Secretary of Energy Gold Medal in 1996.

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Source: Green Car Congress
Photo: Dr. Gil Weigand/Oak Ridge National Laboratory