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A story of innovation, commerce, and duplicity in one of the world's most competitive and consequential fields of technology
A super-battery would change the world. It would undermine Russia's Vladimir Putin, endanger Saudi Arabia's ruling family, threaten OPEC, and transform China into one of the cleanest industrializing nations on the planet. There would be impossible new wealth for one lucky country - the place where that battery was invented. For the rest of us, there would be less worry about climate change and less spent on oil and gasoline.
So what was holding back this new day? To find out, Steve LeVine was granted two years of unprecedented access to Argonne National laboratory, a secure federal research center outside Chicago, where a group of geniuses is trying to solve this next monumental task of physics. But these scientists - most foreign born - were not alone. With so much at stake, researchers in some twenty countries were in the same pursuit - Japan and south Korea, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, and of course the United States and China. It was a war - a battery war.
Not since Tracy Kidder's classic The Soul of a New Machinehas a writer so successfully captured the drama of technological competition at a great turning point. The Powerhouseis a thrilling account of the next technological age, a chronicle of aspiration and disappointment, competition and ambition.