The Herald

Im­proved bat­tery tech­nol­ogy holds key to elec­tric cars and home power

- Business · Solar Power · Clean Tech · Ecology · Consumer Goods · Transportation · Energy · Environmental Economics · Industries · United Kingdom · Grantham · Renewable Energy · Centre for Environmental Policy


could make the planned £19.6 bil­lion Hink­ley Point C nu­clear power plant pro­jected to pro­duce 3.2 gi­gawatt (GW) of power on de­mand from 2025 ob­so­lete the moment it came on stream, they claimed.

If the same amount were in­vested in large-scale lithium-ion bat­ter­ies, by 2025 these would be able to de­liver 21 to 41 GW of power when charged. This is more than 10 times the UK’s cur­rent elec­tric­ity stor­age ca­pac­ity, en­abling the use of sig­nif­i­cantly more wind and so­lar en­ergy.

Cur­rently, many mo­torists are put off from switch­ing to elec­tric cars be­cause of the cost, lim­ited range of bat­ter­ies and few charg­ing points.

So the sci­en­tists de­vel­oped a new tool to pre­dict the fu­ture cost of en­ergy stor­age tech­nolo­gies un­der dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios and said elec­tric cars could be a vi­able al­ter­na­tive from 2022. Us­ing a large data­base, it can pre­dict how much con­sumers will have to pay in the fu­ture for en­ergy stor­age tech­nolo­gies based on cu­mu­la­tive in­stalled ca­pac­ity, cur­rent cost and fu­ture in­vest­ment.

Study lead Oliver Sch­midt, from the Gran­tham In­sti­tute and the Cen­tre for En­vi­ron­men­tal Pol­icy said: “With this anal­y­sis tool we can quan­tify when en­ergy stor­age be­comes com­pet­i­tive and iden­tify where to in­vest to make it hap­pen, thereby min­imis­ing in­vestor and pol­icy un­cer­tainty.”

Wind and so­lar en­ergy only pro­duce power in­ter­mit­tently when con­di­tions are right and with­out ad­e­quate stor­age when there is a glut it is wasted.

En­ergy stor­age tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing tra­di­tional pumped hy­dro­elec­tric stor­age, recharge­able bat­ter­ies and fuel cells, could help avoid this wastage and pro­vide elec­tric­ity when de­mand is high.

How­ever, many of them are still very new tech­nolo­gies, so are not very wide­spread and are ex­pen­sive.

Yet as new tech­nolo­gies are rolled out and en­ter mass pro­duc­tion, it is pre­dicted costs should fall due to economies of scale and im­prove­ments in man­u­fac­tur­ing and de­ploy­ment.

Breed­ing num­bers of ur­ban blue tits have fallen.

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