Carnegie Mellon University

sue babinec

Argonne National Lab's Sue Babinec on The Grid Energy Storage Strategy

Join the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University for a Distinguished Lecture by Sue Babinec, program lead of stationary storage at Argonne National Laboratory. Babinec's talk is titled "The Grid Energy Storage Strategy." Lunch will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Date and Location

Tuesday, October 22, 2019 from 12:00 PM to 1:20 PM
Bosch Conference Room, 5201 Scott Hall | Carnegie Mellon University | 5000 Forbes Ave. | Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Where do technology strategies come from? Are they artfully derived from the most critical data by intuitive tech veterans or are they objectively assembled from a line-up of facts in a rational Gantt chart? Many approaches can work, but an effective strategy must merge beautiful possibilities with unpleasant realities while folding in a few risk mitigating activities. This is the challenge today for grid energy storage (ES). 

Li-Ion is the strong incumbent due to its startlingly low cost derived from its success in transportation; but when it comes to grid it is not without flaws. Can and should ES scientists take on this big gorilla for the grid market?  If so, what constitutes smart choices in this commodity space? Can techno-economics meaningfully guide early-stage research at a national lab? In this presentation, we will discuss the evolution of our broad grid storage strategy based on lessons learned from experiences with industrial commodity giants, an energy storage startup and a DOE funding agency with a mission to change the way things are done by high-risk/high-reward projects.

Steve Jobs: "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."

Sue Babinec is the Program Lead – Stationary Storage at Argonne National Lab where she is tasked to establish a sustainable growth strategy towards stationary storage for grid applications. Babinec previously served six years in Washington, D.C. as senior commercialization advisor at the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) where she co-managed the energy storage portfolio for both transportation and grid. Prior to ARPA-E, she led several research groups focused on design and scale-up of Li-ion technologies as a technical director for A123 Systems, Inc. at its Ann Arbor Michigan, site. 

Babinec spent the first two decades of her career in Midland at The Dow Chemical Corp., where she was the Senior Electrochemist, a member of the Corporate VC group, was awarded the Inventor of the Year Award, and was the company’s first woman Corporate Fellow. She was also co-inventor of a low-cost display technology that was spun out as the venture-funded start-up, holds more than 45 patents, and has authored or co-authored dozens of journal articles and book chapters.

The Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall is located on the west side of Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus between Hamerschlag Hall and the FMS building, and adjacent to the west wall of Wean Hall. We recommend you park at the East Campus Garage on Forbes Avenue and walk to Scott Hall following the directions below. VIEW PARKING RATES