New battery could solve storage problems of renewables

A research team has high hopes it has found a cheap and effective way of storing huge amounts of energy

Solar-powered street lights in Gwadar, Pakistan (Source: Wikimedia Commons/wetlandsofpakistan
Solar powered street lights in Gwadar, Pakistan
By Tim Radford

Scientists in the US think they may be on the track of a new kind of battery technology that could store huge reserves of energy.

One of the great problems of renewable energy generators such as photovoltaic cells and wind turbines is that they can’t respond to demand.
When the sun is out, nobody needs so much heating and lighting, so the electricity goes to waste. In theory, surplus energy could be saved for hours of darkness or when the winds drop, but at a prohibitive cost. But Michael Aziz of Harvard University in Boston and colleagues report in Nature that they have tested what is, quite literally, a solution to the problem.

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