Friday, 10 February 2017

Batteries: the missing piece in the renewable energy puzzle

Edison is famous for inventing the lightbulb, although that is not really the whole story. Lightbulbs were not much use without electricity, and electricity needs wire, plugs and generators. He also worked on batteries, and around the beginning of the 20th century electric cars seemed a more likely technology than petrol engines. With a lot of hype Edison produced an alkaline battery in 1903, but it came with problems of leaking acid and losing charge, and while he was going back to the drawing board for something lighter and more reliable, Henry Ford came out with the Model T, and the rest is history.

A little over a century later, batteries remain the main cost restraint of electric cars, and without energy storage or a radical change in the way we use electricity, most renewable energy will only
work with conventional power backing it up.

And so to South Yorkshire, where the seams of coal have been sealed, and solar power exceeds. And two companies, Moixa and the The Electricity Storage Network are developing the technology that Tesla is working on in the US.