Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Revolutionizing Battery Storage Key to Fast Tracking Renewables

Business

The grid has not changed much since the days of Thomas Edison, George Crabtree, senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, told PBS's The Good Stuff in the video below. While other industries have made dramatic advances in the last century, he said, the electrical grid has remained largely the same.

"Imagine that we brought back Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, and we showed him our cell phones ... He'd be baffled," Crabtree said. "Now, bring back Thomas Edison and show him the grid as we have it now and he would instantly recognize every feature of that grid," he said. "He'd say 'Oh, I understand that grid. I know how it works ... In fact, I could run the grid for you if you'd like.'"

But all that is about to change, Crabtree predicted. "It may be 5 to 10 to 15 years off, but I think it will come," he said.

And, experts agree. A report from the U.S. Department of Energy last year called the grid "old, obsolete and vulnerable" and said it's in need of a $15 billion overhaul.

"It's inefficient, it's wasteful and it could just be better," explained The Good Stuff's host Craig Benzine.

Crabtree is helping spearhead the push for a smarter grid through his work at the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research—a research partnership of various academic and industrial labs and commercial manufacturers with the goal of developing the next generation of battery technology.

We've revolutionized energy storage before with the lithium-ion battery, Benzine explained. But if we are to make renewables competitive with fossil fuels, we need a battery that's about five times less expensive and five times more energy dense than lithium-ion batteries, Crabtree explained. "That's a huge jump," he said.

But progress is well under way. Check it out:

For a better understanding of how our current power grid works, watch this video from The Good Stuff:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Nicaragua Joins Clean Energy Revolution, Vows 90% Renewables by 2020

Koch Brothers Sneak Anti-Wind Op-Ed Past New York Times

Costa Rica Powers 285 Days of 2015 With 100% Renewable Energy

World’s First Solar-Hydrogen Residential Development Is 100% Self-Sustaining

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Penguins are seen near the Great Wall station in Antarctica, Feb. 9, days after the continent measured its hottest temperature on record at nearly 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Xinhua / Liu Shiping / Getty Images

By Richard Connor

Scientists have recorded Antarctica's first documented heat wave, warning that animal and plant life on the isolated continent could be drastically affected by climate change.

Read More Show Less
The Athos I tanker was carrying crude oil from Venezuela when a collision caused oil to begin gushing into the Delaware River. U.S. Department of the Interior

A case that has bounced around the lower courts for 13 years was finally settled yesterday when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court decision, finding oil giant Citgo liable for a clean up of a 2004 oil spill in the Delaware River, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The buildings of downtown Los Angeles are partially obscured in the late afternoon on Nov. 5, 2019, as seen from Pasadena, California, a day when air quality for Los Angeles was predicted to be "unhealthy for sensitive groups." Mario Tama / Getty Images

The evidence continues to build that breathing dirty air is bad for your brain.

Read More Show Less
Wave power in Portugal. The oceans' energy potential is immense. Luis Ascenso, via Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

The amount of energy generated by tides and waves in the last decade has increased tenfold. Now governments around the world are planning to scale up these ventures to tap into the oceans' vast store of blue energy.

Read More Show Less
Yellowstone National Park closed to visitors on March 24, 2020 because of the Covid-19 virus threat. William Campbell-Corbis via Getty Images

When the novel coronavirus started to sweep across the country, the National Park Service started to waive entrance fees. The idea was that as we started to practice social distancing, Americans should have unfettered access to the outdoors. Then the parking lots and the visitor centers started to fill up, worrying park employees.

Read More Show Less