Is the world ready for organic flow batteries using extracts from rhubarb? PEI reports on some new electricity storage ideas hoping to save renewable energy from ultimate failure. ‘Holy Grail’ or wild goose chase – time will tell.
The US energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, believes the advances being made in storage technology means that the country will be completely decarbonised by the 2050s.
A global race, seen initially in Europe and the US is leading to a rapid acceleration in innovation that may dispense with the need for nuclear and thermal power by that time according to the technology’s backers, as the Achilles heel of intermittency will no longer impact on the overall effectiveness of renewables.
Surges of excess power will instead be stored for use later at times when the sun sets, and consumption peaks in the early evening. “Storage is a huge deal,” says Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary and himself a nuclear physicist. The Daily Telegraph reports that he is now confident that the US grid and power system will be completely “decarbonised” by the middle of the century.
The US Department of Energy is funding 75 projects developing electricity storage, mobilizing teams of scientists at Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and the elite Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge labs in a bid for what it calls the ‘Holy Grail’ of energy policy.
Consultants Mckinsey estimate that the energy storage market will grow a hundredfold to $90bn a year by 2025.