Sources: LI won't win $120M battery research grant

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Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have fallen short in their bid for a $120 million federal grant to develop a powerful new generation of batteries, according to three officials with knowledge of the matter.

The U.S. Department of Energy Friday plans to announce that the five-year funding will go to Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, according to the officials, who requested anonymity.

Spokeswomen for the Department of Energy and Argonne declined to comment. Officials at Brookhaven and Stony Brook -- which were finalists for the award -- did the same.

Losing the grant is a blow to Brookhaven and Stony Brook, which planned to use it toward their quest to make Long Island an international center for energy storage development and forge research partnerships with General Motors, General Electric and other companies.

The two institutions still plan to move forward with the effort and will pursue funding from other sources, officials said.

Sen. Charles Schumer, who had pushed hard for the funding to come to New York, said he was "disappointed" in the decision. "We're working to find and secure other resources to allow Brookhaven to expand and commercialize their cutting-edge work," he said.

Scientists at Brookhaven and Stony Brook hoped they had an edge thanks to their deep experience in nanotechnology, material science and the recent hiring of Esther Takeuchi, an international energy-storage expert. She is leading the project from Stony Brook's Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center.

Argonne, about 30 miles southwest of Chicago, is already renowned for its battery research, including work on the Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Scientists believe batteries are central to solving the world's energy problems and could revolutionize the U.S. economy.

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The effort to develop them on Long Island comes as local research institutions are pushing to harness the commercial potential of local high-tech research. They hope scientific breakthroughs will give rise to high-tech startup companies that revitalize the region's economy.

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