About one fifth of the world’s population lacks access to electricity. It is one of biggest economic obstacles for people in developing countries, but one that could mean opportunities for a clean energy beginning with alternative energy.
There are many possibilities for those excluded people and one of them is being developed by an American company called Aquion Energy, which makes low-cost batteries for large-scale electricity storage. This new battery technology could be the answer for people living off-grid.
Aquion’s factory is near Pittsburgh, in a former Sony television factory. According to MIT’s Technology Review, the initial production capacity will be “hundreds” of megawatt-hours of batteries per year. Funding is coming from the state of Pennsylvania and from a $5 million R&D grant from federal government.
“After considering all of our options, including aggressive offers from a number of other U.S. states, we concluded that southwestern Pennsylvania is the best location for Aquion to establish its first high-volume manufacturing operation,” said CEO Scott Pearson in a recent press statement. “This project would not have been possible without the strong support of Governor Corbett and the Governor’s Action Team.”
Apparently, India could be the first place to benefit from the Aquion’s battery. That is because in that country installing solar panels has become cheaper than using oil, whose prices have soared. The technology would make it possible for off-grid communities to use at night the solar energy they generated during the day. This way, long-distance transmission lines would not be necessary, similarly to the way cell-phone towers allowed communities to access cell phone services before they had land lines.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.