To accomplish this, U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu is taking some lesson from U.S. history.
The DOE is creating a new Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, at a cost of $120 million over five years, that's intended to reproduce development environments that were successfully used by Bell Laboratories in the World War II Manhattan Project that produced an atomic bomb.
"When you had to deliver the goods very, very quickly, you needed to put the best scientists next to the best engineers across disciplines to get very focused," said Chu at a press conference Friday that was streamed live from Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. The center will be located there.
The Battery and Energy Storage Hub project will involve six national labs, five universities -- Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign, and University of Michigan -- and four private firms, Dow Chemical, Applied Materials, Johnson Controls, and Clean Energy Trust.
While physical proximity will have a role in the research, Chu said electronic communications and video conferencing will help achieve similar results.
The intent is to organize research in a way that can "change the rate in which something is actually done," said Chu. The key is moving technology innovations from the lab to the private sector as quickly as possible, he said.