Battery Hackers Building a Future in Their Garage

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A fascinating piece from Bloomberg below discusses the ‘battery revolution’ taking place. As I have blogged before, there is going to be a huge role for renewables globally and with our engineering heritage it is vital the UK does not get left behind. I’m keen to attract R&D in this sector as well as potential manufacturing (turbines etc)., creating jobs in North Thanet and education opportunities as well.

What’s primarily driving the battery revolution is the phenomenal growth of rooftop and other forms of solar energy and an awakening by renewable energy advocates that storage is the lagging piece of the transformative puzzle. Solar now powers the equivalent of 3.5 million American homes and accounted for 34 percent of all newly installed electricity capacity last year. Wind supplies enough electricity for the equivalent of about 14.7 million U.S. homes, about the same as 52 coal-powered generating plants, according to the Wind Energy Foundation.

An exponential breakthrough in battery capacity and cost would bulldoze aside the limitations to adopting renewable energy on a massive scale, be a potent weapon to fight climate change by lowering carbon emissions and potentially bring billions of dollars in profits, never mind fame, to the winners. The knock on renewables is that while fossil fuels keep the power on all the time, solar fades when the sun doesn’t shine and wind power fizzles when the wind doesn’t blow – unless you have a way to store the excess for when you need it.

“What’s holding back solar and wind isn’t their availability but the fact that the technology to generate renewable energy has leapt far ahead of the capacity to store and deploy it round the clock as needed,” says Crabtree of the Joint Center project, which is run out of the federal Argonne National Laboratory.

Read more here.

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