With numerous developments in the field of alternative energy technologies, and incredible boost in sales of electric vehicles, the pressure is all on energy storage. It is true that innovations in this field are lacking, but with the new Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, which provides everything that specialists might need, the ever-so-needed breakthrough is just around the corner.
When back in 2012, the Department of Energy granted $120 million for construction of a brand new centre for energy storage developments at the Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, everyone was wondering what would be the greatest discovery that comes out of it. Two years down the line, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (J-CESR) provides scientists and engineers from around the world with all the necessary tools and financial support that they might need in order to meet the huge consumer demands.
A lot is at stake here, there is no doubt about that. The end users demand technology, which is a good value for their money, and rightfully so. No one needs a super cool electronic gadget that has lots of extras, but needs charging every 5 hours, or thousands of dollars-worth electric vehicle that can take them only to the local shop and back before it needs extra juice again.
The guys within the J-CESR promise that the desired small, light and long-lasting energy storage technology will hit the market in not more than five years. As the deputy director of the facility states (see full interview here), the scientists and researchers at the center are very close to having the ultimate battery with five times the density ready for sale at one fifth of the cost of current batteries. The first guys to make use of the technology will be the those in the mobile phone industry, but electric vehicles will follow shortly.
No one can question the fact that the biggest demand is for better energy storage for electric transport. The market is growing, the technology is improving, and car makers are continuously working on satisfying every little small itch that a driver might have, meaning that the need for better batteries is increasing. But the specialists at J-CESR are not dealing only with this.
By providing better car batteries, they clearly give a boost to the EV market. But, more EVs means more pressure on the grid, and more pressure on the grid means higher demand for energy storage from renewable sources and large-scale battery developments. Well, leave it to J-CESR to handle, they are already on it.
Image (c) J-CESR