Battery technology grows to meet demands of renewable energy
By Michael Sanserino
Beaver County Blue via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
June 24, 2014 – Those skeptical of renewable energy as a viable power source often note that the wind doesn’t always blow nor does the sun always shine.
But advancements in battery technology are helping keep energy flowing on those dark, windless days.
“It’s happening at a record pace,” said Lisa Salley, vice president and general manager of energy and power technologies at Underwriter Laboratories, a Northbrook, Ill.-based independent safety consulting and certification organization.
The goal is to increase the usability of renewable energy, which currently accounts for 21 percent of all electricity generated worldwide but just 11 percent of consumption, according to the Energy Information Administration.
“One of the areas that’s been neglected in the past has been the storage component of renewable energy sources, and that includes wind and solar, of course,” said Tom Granville, CEO of Axion Power International.
That, however, is changing. Power, chemical and material science companies, locally and elsewhere, are investing heavily in battery technology. Some are improving existing technology while others are developing new chemistry to create entirely new battery structures.