US to decarbonise by 2050 with energy storage

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moriz believes energy storage will lead to full decarbonisation by 2050. Energy storage technology is rapidly advancing and soon it may allow wind and solar to overcome […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moriz believes energy storage will lead to full decarbonisation by 2050.

Energy storage technology is rapidly advancing and soon it may allow wind and solar to overcome their major flaw of intermittent generation. It could even dispense with the need for nuclear and thermal power.

“Energy storage is a huge deal,” says Ernest Moniz, US Energy Secretary and nuclear physicist.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is funding 75 storage projects to pursue what it calls the ‘Holy Grail’ of energy, as part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

They plan to slash storage costs by 80% to 90% and reach a rate of $100(£77.02) per kilowatt hour in the near future.

A Harvard project has created a battery that relies on rhubarb or oil waste, much cheaper and less toxic than current flow batteries based on the rare metal vanadium. Its reactions are also 1,000 times faster.

Professor Michael Aziz, leading the project, said there are issues to fix regarding the “calendar life of storage chemicals but the basic design is essentially proven.”

Last week ELN met Tom Zawodzinski to speak about his role in developing advanced energy storage technologies.