Large, grid-scale batteries capable of storing the extra electricity are resource-intensive and costly to
Here’s a video that shows where I spent my afternoon: on a tour of the (currently) 2 megawatt solar photovoltaics facility at Fort Hunter Liggett in Central California, now the largest solar array on a military base in the U.S. – and soon to be a microgrid. As I took a tour with some colleagues, work was underway for Phase Two, which will add two more MW, and enough battery
I am not going to lie — when I first heard about solar battery storage, I was not overly excited. Because I usually work with our efficiency programs – and communicating how our customers can conserve energy and save money – I was way out of my comfort zone. And I’d missed lunch, so I was cranky.
Renewable energy sources like solar and wind only generate electricity when the wind blows or the sun is out and that isn’t always when customers need power. Batteries large enough to hold megawatts of electricity are prohibitively expensive but another potential source of battery storage is fast emerging: electric vehicles.
While electric vehicles are only being delivered by the hundreds today, plans for clusters of fast DC charging stations around major cities and along highways are fully underway. During the next 18 months it may be more of a challenge to find enough cars to warrant the chargers’ existence than it will be for EV drivers to find a fast charge station.
The new year brings some good pieces of news on the energy storage front. If the first week of 2011 is any indication of trends to come over the next 12 months, there’s much to look forward to in the area of utility-scale energy storage.
Perhaps the biggest news (not in terms of scale but in terms of significance) is that the first utility-scale battery storage system in
It’s cleaning up space junk, and is giving us lab-on-chip biofilters for detecting contamination. Now nanotechnology has produced a coating for windows or solar panels that repels grime and dirt. Expanded battery storage capacities for the next electric car could be within reach too.
New Tel Aviv University research, just published in Nature Nanotechnology, details a breakthrough in assembling peptides at the nano-scale level that could make these futuristic visions come true in just a few years.
Operating in the range of 100 nanometers (roughly one-billionth of a meter) and even smaller, graduate student Lihi Adler-Abramovich and a team working under Prof. Ehud Gazit in TAU’s Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology have found a novel way to control the atoms and molecules of peptides so that they “grow” to resemble small forests of grass.