Innovative battery technologies play a key role in reducing energy storage costs and creating new energy sector opportunities. 

FERMONT, CA: The world produces and uses a lot of renewable electricity than ever before, however it is created by intermittent, weather-dependent sources such as solar and wind in several cases. While these are imperative for a decarbonized future, they cannot generate power all the time, and this will cause power supply gaps. If the batteries can store renewable electricity from intermittent sources when it can be generated, it could be used at times when it is not. The problem, however, is the technology that can store electricity on a scale that is sufficiently massive to power a city that does not yet exist. The race is well underway, and several companies are operating to create ever larger, more economical strategies of storing electricity. Here are a few storage technologies that shape the landscape of storage.     

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Hydrogen is one amongst the most common elements on earth, so for any power generation technology, it is a desirable gas. The latest to appear is hydrogen fuel cells, which in the automotive space are increasing in popularity. The fuel cells work in the same way as two electrodes separated by an electrolyte battery. Nevertheless, as long as a constant supply of hydrogen and an oxidizer are pumped through it, hydrogen fuel cells can still manufacture energy rather than run-down and need recharging. This implies that a daily hydrogen supply needs to be fed in to keep generating power–prompting the proliferation of fueling stations where hydrogen-powered cars can 'fill-up' with hydrogen when their batteries run out. Hydrogen fuel cells were also used to power buildings and National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellites in addition to powering cars.

Vehicle-to-Grid Systems

But what if EVs can function as energy storage systems beyond just using electricity? Both vehicles spend long static periods of time between journeys. Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems will take advantage of this and allow EVs to discharge their stored electricity for grid-wide distribution, helping to meet demand during peak times. Cars can actually turn into mini-power plants. Several businesses have already created plans for this type of system and are progressing to install about a hundred 'car-to-grid' charging points throughout the United Kingdom. When needed, EVs plugged into these sites will be able to charge their batteries as well as feed stored energy back to the National Grid. Smart charging systems will facilitate further automate this electricity supply and enable EVs to further contribute to reducing overall carbon emissions.

An energy storage system is the solution to satisfy increasing demands for electricity. Storage can scale back energy dependence on imports and provide fewer emissions than ever before with electricity. The ability of the nation to implement the future's advanced and economical grid depends on cost-effective, widespread energy storage technologies being developed and deployed.

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