Monday, December 23, 2013

Batteries could store the energy in sunlight and the wind

Batteries as big as houses could become an important component of our electricity supply in the future – enabling us to exploit renewable energy that at present literally just flies past us.
By research scientists Ole Edvard Kongstein, Ole S. Kjos, Ana M. Martinez and Edel Sheridan, all of SINTEF Materials and Chemistry
Sunbeams and gusts of wind have one thing in common: they are unpredictable sources of energy that cannot be switched on and off according to our requirements.
If we do not need the power that solar cells give us when the sun is shining, or from wind-turbines when it is windy, the energy they produce must be stored if we are to be able to use it at all. At SINTEF, we have an idea for a battery that could be used for this purpose, and we have recently been given funds by the Research Council of Norway to realise our concept.
Our idea is based on creating giant batteries that would be located at certain sites in the electricity supply system. The batteries that we envisage would be able to absorb, and to release, a great deal of energy within a short time. In the event of a sudden power shortage in a renewables-based electricity system, such batteries would ensure that consumers always have a source of power available, whether the shortage lasts for days, or is over within a few seconds.
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