Renewable energy holds the promise of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. But there are times when solar and wind farms generate more electricity than is needed by consumers.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>”We calculated how much energy is used over the full lifecycle of the battery – from the mining of raw materials to the installation of the finished device,” Barnhart said. “Batteries with high energetic cost consume more fossil fuels and therefore release more carbon dioxide over their lifetime. If a battery’s energetic cost is too high, its overall contribution to global warming could negate the environmental benefits of the wind or solar farm it was supposed to support.” […]
In addition to batteries, the researchers considered other technologies for storing renewable energy, such as pumped hydroelectric storage, which uses surplus electricity to pump water to a reservoir behind a dam. Later, when demand for energy is high, the stored water is released through turbines in the dam to generate electricity. […]
Storage is not the only way to improve grid reliability. “Energy that would otherwise be lost during times of excess could be used to pump water for irrigation or to charge a fleet of electric vehicles, for example,” Dale said.
Clay, an abundant and cheap natural material, is a key ingredient in a supercapacitor that can operate at very high temperatures, according to researchers who have developed such a device.
Duane Tilden‘s insight:
>”Our intention is to completely move away from conventional liquid or gel-type electrolytes, which have been limited to low-temperature operation of electrochemical devices,” said Arava Leela Mohana Reddy, lead author and a former research scientist at Rice.
“We found that a clay-based membrane electrolyte is a game-changing breakthrough that overcomes one of the key limitations of high-temperature operation of electrochemical energy devices,” Reddy said. “By allowing safe operation over a wide range of temperatures without compromising on high energy, power and cycle life, we believe we can dramatically enhance or even eliminate the need for expensive thermal management systems.”
A supercapacitor combines the best qualities of capacitors that charge in seconds and discharge energy in a burst and rechargeable batteries that charge slowly but release energy on demand over time. The ideal supercapacitor would charge quickly, store energy and release it as needed.<