Giant Battery Experiments Make Renewable Energy Sources More Feasible For Use In Power Grid
March 13, 2012 by The Dove
A large barrier to the implementation of renewable energy is the unpredictability of circumstances in which wind or solar energy can be harnessed . In times with clouds or no wind, “the grid,” or the electrical supply system, must rely upon other sources of energy. According to Joyce, an NPR journalist, the grid turns to natural gas plants for fuel. Coal and nuclear plants are considered a poor fit, due to the expenses of turning them on and off with little warning. Simultaneously, the sporadic usage of gas plants does not provide business for them to be financially successful. One long-term solution to this quandary is the creation and implementation of giant batteries, “systems that store excess power to be released as needed” .
In 2011, a group of scientists began developing one such giant battery. It is intended to be a new kind of fluid battery that ultimately would be able to provide power for 2,000 homes based upon “redox flow technologies—which converts chemical energy to electrical currents very quickly” . They have already created a two kilowatt battery that they ultimately plan to create a 20 megawatt-hour battery.
Similarly, there in several years, the company, Rubenius plans to build a giant “energy-storage facility” near the United States-Mexico Border, providing energy to both countries.
Meanwhile, the State Grid Corporation of China in conjunction with BYD car company created a “battery array” that can hold up to 36 mega-watt hours and is complete with a “smart grid transmission system” . This is the largest-scale renewable energy source based battery connected to an energy grid in the world and will be educational to the world as we observe the long-term results.
Regardless of when these giant batteries come out and how successful these prototypes are, they are clearly one strong option for the future of renewable energy and energy as a whole. The exciting technological advances and experiments will continue to astound us and transform our lives into more sustainable, environmentally sound lives.
By Emily Friedman