2013 Annual Meeting and Conference to Focus on System-Level Issues

The next annual NAATBatt conference, our 2013 Annual Members Meeting and Conference, will be held on January 17-18, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  I am excited to be headed to Texas for our next major program.  Austin is home to some of the best barbeque in the world (a subject near to my heart), which you will have a chance to try next January.  Austin is also home to the University of Texas, the birthplace by many measures of modern lithium-ion technology.  It is fitting and proper that the U.S. advanced battery industry recognize and honor that fact by holding its next industry conference in Austin.

The 2013 conference will have a somewhat different focus than that of past NAATBatt conferences and, for that matter, from that of most other recent conferences in the industry.  The 2013 conference will focus on measuring, managing and controlling battery systems.

As industry struggles to squeeze additional energy in and costs out of advanced batteries, it is becoming increasingly clear that some of the most important strategies for doing so will focus on improvements in battery systems, rather than on improvements in battery cells or electrode chemistries.  A 20% increase in the energy density of a battery cell would be a great accomplishment.  But the same result might be achieved by making the cells that make up a battery system work together 20% more efficiently.  The “secret sauce” of advanced battery technology might not be new super energy-dense materials after all.  It might be the ability to make relatively ordinary battery cells work together in ways that will make the system as a whole perform better than the sum of its parts.

To control battery systems more efficiently, of course, it is first necessary to be able measure and monitor their component parts.  The 2013 Annual Meeting will look at measuring and monitoring technologies that are being applied to battery systems by companies that are currently making battery systems and by companies in other industries that are interested in applying their monitoring and measuring technologies in energy storage applications.  As always, the 2013 Annual Meeting will also feature “flash” presentations by academic researchers on topics of interest to the industry.  The great strength of the United States in battery technology is its ability to produce innovative new technologies.  The 2013 Annual Meeting will further one of NAATBatt’s principal missions:  helping to transfer innovative new battery technologies from academic research institutions to the private sector.

So please put January 17-18, 2013 on your calendar.  Save room in your stomach for some good barbeque and room in your mind for some new ways to look at battery innovation.  I look forward to seeing you in Austin.

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