Renewable gridJust a few months ago, business magnate Elon Musk announced that he would spearhead an effort to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery in an effort to deliver a grid-scale battery to expand South Australia’s renewable energy supply. Now, reports state that Musk is delivering on his promise, stating that the battery is already half complete.

The battery is set to sustain 100 megawatts of power and store that energy for 129 megawatt hours. That roughly translates to enough energy to power 30,000 homes. On top of this large technological order, Musk stated that if his team could not develop the battery in 100 days or less, it would be free for the Australian transmission company.

“This serves as a great example to the rest of the world of what can be done,” Musk told an audience in Australia, as reported by ABC news. “To have that [construction] done in two months; you can’t remodel your kitchen in that period of time.”

The battery is expected to cost $39 million (USD). The operational deadline, as decided by the Australian government, is December 1, 2017.

Solar-to-Hydrogen Production

The device is able to convert solar energy into hydrogen at a rate of 14.2 percent, and has already been run for more than 100 hours straight.
Image: Infini Lab/EPFL

One of the biggest barriers between renewables and widespread grid implementation has been the issue of intermittency. How can we meet a nation’s energy demands with solar when the sun goes down?

In an effort to move past these barriers toward a cleaner energy infrastructure, a new paper published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society describes an effective, low-cost solution for storing solar energy.

The research team from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne is looking to covert solar energy into hydrogen through water electrolysis. At its core, the concept revolves around using solar-produced electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, leaving clean hydrogen to be stored as future energy or even as a fuel.

But this idea is not new to the scientific community. However, the research published in JES provides answer to continuous barriers in this field related to stability, scaling, and efficiency.


Renewable grideThe world’s next energy revolution is looming nearer.

In order to bolster this transformation, the U.S. Department of Energy has been funding 75 projects in the energy technology field, enabling cutting-edge research into energy conversion and storage. This effort is part of the DOE’s goal to “decarbonize” the U.S. energy infrastructure by the middle of the country.

One of the most promising projects funded by the DOE is led by ECS member Michael Aziz, where he and his team from Harvard are addressing challenges in grid energy storage.

Energy storage has become one of the largest barriers in the widespread implementation of renewables. By offering a cost-effective, efficient answer to energy storage, the issues of intermittency in power sources such as wind and solar could be answered.

Aziz and his team are addressing issues in energy storage with the development of a flow battery based on inexpensive organic molecules in a water-based electrolyte. The team is focusing on using quinone molecules, which can be found in such plant sources as rhubarb or even oil waste. The quinone molecules allow energy to be stored in a water-based solution at room temperature.

Aziz recently discussed some of his work in quinon-bromide flow batteries as part of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society Focus Issue on Redox Flow Batteries-Reversible Fuel Cells.