Thursday, March 21, 2013

Battery Problem Solution?

The “battery problem” refers to the currently poor methods we have available to store electrical energy.  In particular, either by weight or by volume, current batteries (the best electrical energy storage today) cannot store nearly as much energy as hydrocarbon fuels (e.g., gasoline).  The battery problem is the main technological barrier to wind and solar power, and to replacing gasoline powered cars with electric cars. 

The battery problem is a very hard one; so hard that despite billions of dollars invested in research, the very best solutions are still only incrementally better than the batteries used in the late 1800s.

Here's some very early research into an alternative storage mechanism, one that stores electricity as nuclear energy (rather than chemical energy, like current batteries).  This is theoretical work at this point; not even to the proof-of-concept stage – but it stands out to me because it's a fundamentally different approach that promises energy densities far higher than even hydrocarbon fuels can achieve.  That would most definitely solve the battery problem, and would make hydrocarbon fuels looks sort of silly...

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