Could the future be battery-powered?
The energy game is rapidly changing. Nations and societies across the globe are making efforts to transform energy dependency from fossil-fuel based energy to a cleaner renewable energy. Under the Paris deal that is mediated by United Nations in 2015, 200 countries have made commitments to reduce their carbon emissions and rely upon renewable energy.
Sun and wind can provide immense amount of energy potential into our solar power and wind turbines plant. However, the sun does not shine at night and the wind does not blow every single day. Sun and wind are intermittent source of energy. They are not continuously available to meet our increasingly electricity demand.
The road to large-scale use of renewable energy is challenging. Is there any solution to such intermittency possessed by renewable energy?
The Solution is Battery Storage
Yup, battery. The renewable industry faces the problem by installing battery storage near the wind turbines and solar power plant sites. At certain times of the day, wind and solar power can produce extra amount of electricity simply because the exposure of wind and solar power can last longer than usual. The idea of battery storage is to store this electricity surplus in the battery. Therefore, we can utilize electricity stored in the battery at times when both sun and wind stop shining and blowing.
I’m not trying to promote Tesla in this blog but the company is in fact the pioneer of this remarkable technology. In July 2017, Tesla partnered with South Australia to build 100-megawatt battery storage in the state’s wind turbine site to store the wind turbine’s electricity. As some of you may know, South Australia depends heavily upon renewable energy, yet has been struggling with electricity blackout problems.
Battery Storage Plant (Source: Wikimedia)
The Future of Battery
It appears that there is a promising future for those of you who want to seek opportunity in the world of battery. Not only to back-up renewable energy plants, but batteries are also used to power our mobile devices, hybrid & electric cars. The 21st century is going to be electronic age, and therefore demand for batteries will surge as almost all type of electronics require battery storage.
“The opportunity for battery storage exists in all areas of the utilities value chain — in generation, transmission and distribution, as well as on the consumer side, behind the meter,” says Manish Kumar, Managing Director of AES Energy Storage.
We can see that the momentum of battery is rising. According to Bloomberg, as battery technologies have improved, the cost of producing batteries has plummeted by 40% since 2014 until now – that’s a huge decline in 3 years period! It also predicts that battery storage capacity worldwide will increase 15-fold by 2024.
Tesla’s electric car is being charged at local electric charging port (Source:Wikimedia)
Concern about Battery Storage: Safety
There are some concerns regarding safety on the use of battery storage. Remember the incident of exploding batteries in Samsung Galaxy Note 7? Almost all batteries, including Tesla’s battery storage in South Australia, contain lithium and it is flammable. So, a battery fire can happen and bursts into flame.
Battery scientists and engineers need to find a way to produce safer batteries, so that the battery-powered future gives no harm to anyone.