Artistic representation of the transition to renewable energy, showing a contrast between traditional energy sources and modern renewable solutions, in a Van Gogh-inspired style with vibrant colors and swirling brush strokes.

Considerations about the Future of Energy Storage

The future of energy storage is crucial in our global shift towards renewable energy. While the world strives to reduce its fossil fuel dependence, the challenge lies in finding viable and sustainable energy storage solutions. The intermittent nature of solar and wind power presents a significant challenge. Currently, we depend on gas, coal, and nuclear energy for consistent power supply, underlining the urgent need for advanced energy storage solutions.

Reliable energy storage systems can also lead to the development of decentralized power networks that can help to bring electricity in remote locations or less developed countries. 

Li-Ion batteries, revolutionary in powering small electronics, now face limitations in scaling up for high-power applications like electric vehicles (EVs). The environmental and economic costs of materials like lithium raise further concerns. Surely, chemical companies have started building recycling plants for batteries to recover those materials, but it seems that we are building, piece to piece, a high tower that is going to collapse, sooner or later. We need to re-think the energy storage system from the beginning, and we should start the development of a new technology tailored to today’s world’s needs. To guide this important transition, here are the key requirements for the next generation of energy storage technologies:

  • Should be built on abundant and cheap atoms, such as oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, iron, silicon
  • Should have simple chemical composition and structure
  • Should produce electricity directly from a chemical reaction 
  • Should have high energy density
  • Reaction products should be not-harmful, such as molecular oxygen, nitrogen or water
  • Should be possible to be produced at large scale, also using abundant raw materials and known chemical processes, and the production should be energy viable
  • Should be possible to be regenerated or produced using solar, wind and other renewable energies 
  • Should be possible to use it to produce energy at large scale
  • Should be safe to handle and transport

In particular, for electric vehicles, we need energy storage that offers rapid recharging and long-range capabilities, like traditional internal combustion engines. It’s time to pivot towards innovative technologies. It’s important that scientists, policymakers, and industry leaders collaborate to turn these requirements into reality.

Cover: @The Future of Energy: A Van Gogh-Inspired Vision – From Traditional to Renewable.

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