Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Revolutionizing Battery Storage Key to Fast Tracking Renewables

Business
Revolutionizing Battery Storage Key to Fast Tracking Renewables

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

Workers harvest asparagus in a field by the Niederaussem lignite coal power plant in Cologne, Germany. Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning are reaching new highs. Henning Kaiser / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the dire threat of climate change Wednesday in a speech on the state of the planet delivered at Columbia University in New York.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The miserable ones: Young broiler chickens at a feeder. The poor treatment of the chickens within its supply chain has made Tyson the target of public campaigns urging the company to make meaningful changes. U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

By David Coman-Hidy

The actions of the U.S. meat industry throughout the pandemic have brought to light the true corruption and waste that are inherent within our food system. Despite a new wave of rising COVID-19 cases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently submitted a proposal to further increase "the maximum slaughter line speed by 25 percent," which was already far too fast and highly dangerous. It has been made evident that the industry will exploit its workers and animals all to boost its profit.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Altamira, state of Para, north of Brazil on Sept. 1, 2019. Amazon rainforest destruction surged between August 2019 and July 2020, Brazil's space agency reported. Gustavo Basso / NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to Brazil's space agency (Inpe), deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has surged to its highest level since 2008, the BBC reported.

Read More Show Less
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters on February 4, 2020 in New York City. Angela Weiss / AFP / Getty Images

By Kenny Stancil

"The state of the planet is broken. Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal."

That's how United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres began a Wednesday address at Columbia University, in which he reflected on the past 11 months of extreme weather and challenged world leaders to use the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to construct a better world free from destructive greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less
Scaling up offshore renewable energy is one of the ways that governments can improve ocean sustainability efforts. BerndBrueggemann / Getty Images

On Wednesday, governments responsible for 40 percent of the world's coastlines and 20 percent of global fisheries announced a series of new commitments that comprise the world's biggest ocean sustainability initiative.

Read More Show Less