What is the most efficient way to store energy?
The development of energy storage technology is a key component of the transition to renewable energy. One of the most critical technologies for this transition is battery technology, particularly for electric vehicles (EVs). Currently, the energy density of battery cells is about 200 Wh/kg, but researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory and the Illinois Institute of Technology have made a breakthrough in lithium-air variant technology that has achieved an energy density of 675 Wh/kg, which could be scaled up to reach 1,200 Wh/kg.
This increased energy density could make the electrification of trucks, trains, and even mid-haul aircraft possible. Moreover, it eliminates the dependence on cobalt, which is usually mined in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a country plagued by ecological and human disasters.
The current battery prototype is based on lithium, but it could be developed using sodium. Although this would halve the driving range, it would still be double with today’s generation of batteries. The abundant presence of sodium in salt lakes and seawater means there are no supply constraints.
The development of a lithium recycling industry and the potential to extract lithium from seawater could mitigate the supply constraints of the element in the future. Moreover, the development of battery technology is moving so fast that what seemed impossible five years ago is already a discernible reality.
The Argonne-IIF battery and other breakthroughs collectively show that energy science is advancing rapidly, and a different technological landscape is possible in the future. As such, the most efficient way to store energy will likely continue to evolve as scientists and researchers push the boundaries of battery technology.
Here are some battery storage investment companies you might be interested in:
- AES Energy Storage
- Stem, Inc.
- Fluence Energy
- Advanced Microgrid Solutions
- Greensmith Energy, A Wartsila Company
- NEC Energy Solutions
- Tesla Energy
- Sunverge Energy
- Enel X
- ESS Inc.