On rue Saint-Leu, at the very heart of Amiens, a new building will promote the excellence of France in the field of electrochemical storage of energy (batteries and supercapacitors): the Energy Hub. Fundamental research and technology transfer are the keywords of this showcase for French research. Still under construction, it will be delivered by the end of 2016.
What is the Hub?
At the forefront of innovation, the Energy Hub is the future place for fundamental research and industrial developments. This is where our researchers will give birth to tomorrow’s batteries (sodium-ion, lithium-air, lithium-sulfur…) and improve today’s batteries (safety, manufacturing processes). It will be a cutting-edge center for exchanges in electrochemistry, energy storage and materials science.
Who will benefit from this building?
The Hub was built on the initiative of Pr. Jean-Marie Tarascon as the headquarters of RS2E (French research network on electrochemical energy storage). The RS2E was set up by CNRS and the Ministry of Research to federate 17 CNRS/university labs, 15 industrial partners and 3 technology transfer centers (learn more about RS2E). A lab based in Amiens, and a founding member of R2SE, will move into the building and bring it to life through its research activities. That lab is the LRCS (Laboratoire de réactivité et chimie des solides), headed by Mathieu Morcrette.
What does "Energy Hub" (Hub de l’énergie) stand for?
"Hub" is borrowed from English, where it originally refers to the part connecting the wheel to an axle. The "connection" meaning of the word can be found in expressions such as "airline hub", a meeting place for travelers and planes. We liked that meaning as it could emphasize the multidisciplinary and collaborative scope of the place. The suffix "Energy" is a reminder of our main activity: the study and development of energy storage devices. But you can also call it the Amiens Hub or the Batteries Hub if you prefer!
What equipment will be used by our researchers?
By its modernity, the Energy Hub will bring together, in one single facility, scanning and transmission electron microscopes, X-ray diffraction devices, a prototyping line for 18650 cells inside a dry room, mass spectrometry analysis instrumentation, electrochemical cyclers, glove boxes,…
The Hub, an international-level research center
A large part of the first research work on lithium-ion was conducted by French researchers (Jean-Marie Tarascon, Michel Armand, Claude Delmas, Christian Masquelier…) although the industrial transfer happened… mainly in Asia. Today, the battle has been raging worldwide to invent its successor – more sustainable, cheaper, greener. The industry invests heavily, as for instance the electric car manufacturer Tesla. So do governments. Germany has thus invested 21.7 million euros, plus 5 million per year, in building research centers on batteries. The foundations of RS2E in 2011 and the Hub in 2016 are the best French assets to strengthen a legitimate position in this strategical field.
This is also an opportunity for the local and regional economy, which will help consolidate the position of the Hauts-de-France region and Amiens in the green economy and sustainable development.
What original are some of its original features?
The Hub was designed with a strong environmental focus by Nickl & Partner architectural firm. It handles two requests: integration into its surroundings and sustainable construction principles. So the building features vegetated rooftops, large window openings, low-emission materials… It is also a « chest » that is designed to protect scientific advances with its steel panels, a second skin that maintains the confidentiality of research activities.
Who funds it?
The Energy Hub was funded with €22 million by Région Hauts-de-France, with a strong support from Université de Picardie Jules Verne, the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, Amiens Métropole, Préfecture de Région, Département de la Somme, Académie d’Amiens and FEDER European Fund.