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Could Super-Batteries Replace the Energy Grid?

February 29, 2012, 7:30 AM
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What's the Latest Development?

A company that makes low-cost, high-storage batteries is set to scale their production in a Pennsylvania factory. Just outside Pittsburgh, Aquion Energy will retrofit an old Sony television factory to produce batteries designed to store energy from renewable energy sources like wind farms and solar panels. "The first applications are expected to be in countries like India, where hundreds of millions of people in communities outside major cities don't have a connection to the electrical grid or any other reliable source of electricity."

What's the Big Idea?

Just as cellphone towers brought telephone access to communities without traditional land line infrastructure, batteries could bring electricity to underdeveloped communities. The technology could also benefit industrialized countries by providing power to the grid at times of peak energy usage. Currently, the cost of the batteries are $300 per kilowatt-hour, far cheaper than lithium-ion cells but still too expensive to compete with natural gas in the US. The batteries are made from a relatively safe and cheap water-based electrolyte. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


 

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