DOE must explain why it gave battery technology to China


Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) sends a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm urging her to get answers about how the DOE allowed China to usurp revolutionary battery technology created in the United States.

“This development is very alarming, and your department has a responsibility to provide Congress and the public with answers to important questions,” Budd said in the letter obtained exclusively by Breitbart News before it was sent Wednesday.

Budd is referring to a National Public Radio (NPR) report from August 9, 2022 which “explained in detail how the DOE wrongly authorized the transfer of advanced, state-of-the-art battery technology developed in a government-sponsored laboratory. federal to a Chinese company. ”

Budd details how researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory began work on a vanadium redox flow battery in 2006 – the battery was meant to have large storage capacity and the prototype was capable of powering an entire home. After six years and $15 million spent in taxpayer dollars on research, a company called UniEnergy Technologies was founded in 2012 to license the battery patent from the DOE and commercialize the technology.

But after a while, the company “began to foster progressively closer ties with Chinese entities” and eventually sub-licensed the DOE-held patent to Rongke Power, a Chinese company. Even though U.S. law requires DOE patent licensees to “manufacture and sell the products primarily in the United States,” UniEnergy and Rongke Power primarily sold Chinese assembled batteries in China, Budd writes.

“The DOE’s licensing watchdog failed to identify and investigate the non-compliant sublicense granted to Rongke Power for years,” Budd said.

“Later in 2021, UniEnergy approached the DOE to fully divest itself of the vanadium redox flow battery license, requesting permission to transfer it to Dutch company Vanadis Power,” he continued. “Even though this company does not manufacture batteries in the United States for sale in the US market – Vanadis’ website clearly states that they plan to manufacture their batteries in China – DOE officials apparently approved the transfer quickly. .”

Budd points out that China recently connected the world’s largest battery bank to its power grid – and all batteries in the 800 MWh facility are Vanadis Power and Rongke Power vanadium redox flow batteries.

“So it’s clear that this battery farm wouldn’t exist without US taxpayer-funded research. It is unacceptable that DOE-funded research facilitated China’s achievement of this strategic feat before America could build anything comparable,” Budd writes.

Budd asked Granholm to answer several questions by October 15, 2022, including:

What is the DOE’s process for monitoring licensee compliance with US law and departmental regulations?

Is special consideration given to licensees who have close business relationships with Chinese entities?

How does the DOE investigate its own oversight failures and what steps does it take to implement changes?

Is the DOE aware that other research conducted in national laboratories is licensed or sub-licensed to Chinese entities and, if so, how can these technology transfers be stopped?

What steps can the DOE take to hold accountable licensees who violate the terms of their license?

“Mistakes such as allowing cutting-edge battery technology developed in the United States to be scaled up are happening in China rather than America cannot continue to happen. I expect your ministry to it takes concrete measures to prevent any further transfer of technology to foreign adversaries,” he concludes.

China has a history of ending up with American technology – a 2021 CBS report estimated that the Chinese Communist Party stole $200-600 billion a year in American intellectual property for at least 20 years.


Breitbart

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