In 2016, a report published in Telegraph.co.uk highlighted how the battery technology is moving towards a revolution, which will take the world by storm by 2020. The report also suggested that batteries are transforming the way energy is consumed, specifically in the storage of renewable power and transport.
In 2017, around 1.1 million battery and plug-in hybrid passenger cars were sold worldwide, which is approximately 57% higher than the previous year.
Batteries are also instrumental in case of thwarting the issue of intermittency in renewable energy. Authorities and policy-makers in several countries are welcoming the application in connection with the increasing number of solar panels on homes, businesses, and schools. In 2017, the deployment of batteries stood at 466 megawatts, which also elevated almost 80% compared with the previous year.
Now let’s shed light on what the possible future innovations that can appear in the realm of battery technology.
The power is in the portability
Whether portable or not, electrical power is extremely crucial and is often taken for granted, and there lies the fundamental problem.
For the future of battery technology to attain its fullest potential, we need to first focus on the efficiency and conservation, and secondly on the alternative resources of power, like solar panels. The latter actually requires heavy batteries to save the Sun energy, so we can use it at night, or for that matter any time according to our convenience.
The advent of solid-state batteries
Will the lithium-ion batteries have an evolved version in future? Well, one thing is for sure that we need to conserve them more because the need for lithium is anticipated to rise four-fold by 2025 as electric vehicles come into the picture.
We will require new sources of pure cobalt, and lithium, also new perspectives, since grid storage batteries have to be frequently recharged on an industrial scale so often that lithium-ion batteries tend to become exhausted rather easily.
Magnesium-ion batteries could be a worthy alternative in this case, which has a clear advantage over lithium-ion. Magnesium-ion batteries have longevity, and neither do they explode. So magnesium-ion batteries are an effective and much more stable solid-state battery.
The experts at the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory are conducting research on a magnesium battery, which presents greater energy density as compared to lithium, but they couldn’t detect a non-corrosive liquid electrolyte (which acts as the catalyst to make a battery conductive).
The quest for a solid-state battery that’s completely safe and can contain more energy is what we should look forward to in the future, it’s what the power grids need, and it’s what the world needs if vehicles are to be supported by electric power instead of fossil fuels.
The electrification era and the micro-grid
The raising energy density for lithium-ion, along with the falling costs per unit, is a promising innovation by itself, as we stand on the cusp of everything becoming electric.
The methods by which the energy is produced, consumed and distributed, is going through a metamorphosis. That means a wide range of machines including construction equipment, warehouse robots, municipal transport and airport ground fleets turning electric.
Fleets of machines in construction sites, city centres, and transport hubs are all in line to receive a new lease of life through electrification. The important factor is to effectively preserve energy derived from the wind or sun, which at the moment can be possible using lithium-ion batteries purely due to their cost-effectiveness.
If renewable sources of energy are producing more energy than a business utilizes at certain times, the storage of battery allows this abundance energy to be preserved, and used when energy is not being produced. Using the preserved energy also decreases the load on the grid at the peak hours.