Any discussion about the future of energy and energy storage must include a conversation about batteries. In essence, batteries are essential to our energy future, regardless of what one might think.
Look at it this way: finding sustainable and long-term solutions for energy is only half the battle. The other half is finding a way to store that energy effectively. This is where batteries come into play. With that in mind, let's look to the future of battery storage.
How Batteries Work
A battery accepts, stores, and releases energy (electricity) on demand. While most people look at a battery and think it is purely a piece of technology, the process utilizes a fair amount of chemistry to work.
Batteries store chemical energy, which is converted into electrical energy when needed. This allows for a more efficient form of storage. The reverse is also true - when we need to store electrical energy, we first must turn it into chemical energy. That is the primary function of a battery.
The History of Batteries
Believe it or not, batteries have been around for thousands of years. The core principle was first discovered two thousand years ago in Baghdad. This early concept is known as the "Baghdad Battery."
In the 1800s, Alessandro Volta figured out that having positive and negative poles joined by a conductor increases the battery's capabilities. This revolutionized batteries as we know them today. From that moment onward, it was a series of discoveries and improvements, with creators such as Georges Leclanche, Carl Gassner, Waldemar Jungner, and Thomas Edison all adding their findings to a growing list.
This opened the door to various battery types, including Lithium Ion, Lead-acid batteries, Alkaline batteries, nickel-iron batteries, and even rechargeable batteries.
The Future of Batteries
As we push to a greener future, we find ourselves relying more and more on the power of batteries. Take the electric vehicle, for example. Without a battery, the EV would fail to function. As it is, experts are hoping to increase the efficiency of these batteries, as many users still feel their limitations.
The transportation industry depends on the perfection of batteries and energy storage. Ideally, these batteries will be more efficient, cost-effective, and, in some cases, lightweight.
Currently, most of these batteries are lithium-ion, which has been the most perfected for that use. That said, there is no rule against trying alternative battery types. There is a real possibility that a discovery in the world of batteries could revolutionize energy storage as we know it.
How Batteries Support Renewable Solutions
One of the biggest challenges with batteries and energy storage is finding a way to handle it on a large scale. For example, if all homes were to convert to solar energy, the likelihood that some would overproduce energy is high. This excess energy must be stored. That's where batteries come into play and why they are so crucial to the energy revolution.
For a sustainable energy system to be truly green (and sustainable), it must work alongside energy storage. In other words - it has to utilize all forms of clean energy, including batteries.
Hans Kohlsdorf is an expert in the energy sector and has done significant work regarding the impact and opportunities of technological changes. In Mexico’s energy sector, he supports private and public companies in increasing their efficiency and competing in a free market while offering people new and improved energy solutions. Hans is a big supporter of medium and large companies that want to enter the market with new technology and business models. Supporting new generation technologies or advising large consumers on energy efficiency E2M opens the sector to new opportunities.
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