Ten years ago, a group of American engineers and researchers developed a revolutionary battery utilizing vanadium and the oxidation-reduction reaction. The battery developed in the government laboratory was the size of a refrigerator, it could store enough energy for an entire house, and it remained functional for decades.
According to the public broadcasting company NPR, solar panels were designed to be connected to the battery, so that living without an electrical grid would be possible anywhere in the world. However, the success story of the battery in the United States was not written and currently the battery in question is manufactured in China.
However, China did not steal the revolutionary battery technology, the United States handed it over to its worst competitor. The technology was transferred to China under license when federal authorities failed to enforce their own licensing rules.
The U.S. Department of Energy declined to explain to NPR how the technology, which cost millions of taxpayer dollars, ended up in China. When questions were sent to the ministry, the ministry canceled the license agreement with the Chinese manufacturer of the battery Dalian Rongke Power with the company.
However, scraps of information about the drain of technology to China have been revealed. The scientist who led the project Gary Yang wanted to manufacture batteries also outside the laboratory. He got a license from the US Department of Energy to manufacture and sell batteries, but investors were not enthusiastic about the project.
The only interested party was a Chinese businessman and Dalian Rongke Power. The company was initially granted a sub-license to manufacture batteries in China, but the company’s influence steadily grew. The Department of Energy required that the batteries be manufactured in the United States, but Yang did not comply.
“China is ahead of the United States in manufacturing and engineering. Many people would not believe it,” says Yang.
When the Chinese government got wind of the technology being manufactured in their country, they invested millions of dollars in the development. The Department of Energy enforced the licensing rules for foreign manufacturing in an algae-based manner, and the United States fell off the bandwagon, which is currently very difficult to jump on board with.