Jul
05
2010

All charged up!

One oft-cited reason for the relatively small percentage of renewable energy produced in the U.S. (just 7% of our energy is renewable) is that when you have a fluctuating energy source such as sunlight or wind, you need a giant battery to store the excess for use during times of scarcity. Here's one example discussing wind. Perusing Popular Mechanics this afternoon, I came across two innovative new battery designs that could bring us much closer to wider use of renewable energies.

The first design wins points for style--Beacon Power, of Massachusetts, has been testing a battery made of flywheels that store energy as they spin.

The second battery isn't quite as sexy, but it's no less useful--Donald Sadoway at MIT is working on an all-liquid metal battery that could absorb electrical currents up to 10 times as strong as today's hi-tech batteries.

Pretty exciting stuff!

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I just read another future-battery sort of article today. It was about a new type of power-storage technique that compresses fluoride and and xenon molecules between two diamond "anvils" at a pressure about 1 million times what we experience on the surface of the earth.

The mechanical energy from squeezing everything together is converted into chemical energy in the bonds between the molecules, and supposedly it's "the most condensed form of energy storage outside of nuclear energy."

Here, I found the link.

posted on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 4:43pm
Shana's picture
Shana says:

That is super-awesome. I feel like you one-upped my flywheel, but the flywheel does have red laserlines like an 80s school photo. Maybe it's a toss-up.

It makes me wonder sometimes where we'd be technology-wise if people hadn't given up on electric cars in the 1910s. Or perhaps we couldn't have made this progress in batteries until now?

posted on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 5:18pm
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

Great article, Shana! Sounds like your flywheel battery is pretty sweet -- I'd like to see it! But your "a battery" link isn't working... Just a heads up. ;)

posted on Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:42am
bryan kennedy's picture

Fixed.

posted on Tue, 07/06/2010 - 1:18pm
Shana's picture
Shana says:

thanks!

posted on Tue, 07/06/2010 - 2:02pm
Chevron's picture
Chevron says:

How many electric cars do you need plugged in before a bank of Beacon flywheels ramp up? (Hypothetically) Point is; gas, oil and coal are coming offline in the new Grid Regulation world order...whoa...lol Go Bcon!

posted on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 10:49pm

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