The people at IBM’s Almaden Institute say its goal is to catalyze long-term, concerted efforts to create rechargeable next-generation batteries with ten times higher energy density, than the best current Lithium-ion batteries. IBM thinkers recognize that renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, fluctuate continuously, yet society requires a steady, dependable electricity supply. One solution to wind power’s fluctuations is the development of a grid-scale, efficient, and affordable electrical energy storage network that can locally store and distribute in anticipation of supply and demand. This would completely revolutionize the electrical utility business and prepare it to support widespread use of electric cars.
Most of the world’s oil is burned for transportation uses. Scalable energy storage, deployed in the grid and powering long range all-electric vehicles, can eliminate most need to import oil.
The Lab also recognizes that while scalable energy storage is critical to solving the world’s biggest energy problems, progress has been slow. The good news: There are no fundamental scientific obstacles to creating a battery, says IBM, with ten times the energy density of the best current batteries.
Of course it will be difficult. But the company says given the growth of supercomputing power, coupled with developments in nanotechnology, the time is right to greatly accelerate progress. Petaflop-scale supercomputers allow modeling complex chemical systems for electrolytes, catalysts, and electrodes. Experimental studies, says the Institute, will lead to new nanostructured surfaces, catalysts and membranes.
The Almaden Institute is held annually at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. It brings together eminent, innovative thinkers from academia, government, industry, research labs and the media for an intellectually charged, stimulating and vigorous dialogue that addresses fundamental challenges at the edge of science and technology. The Institute format is designed to facilitate and foster discussion, debate, interaction, and networking.
Filed Under: Energy storage, Turbines
I agree the time is right but to say there are no obstacles fails to recongnize that the holy grail to higher energy density of batteries and lower prices has been sought for the past 25 years. Storage of energy itself is not the issue; but doing so economically is.