What’s in a Battery?Energy Storage for Tomorrow
Energy, literally. That’s what a battery is, stored energy waiting to be used up. Batteries are great; they come in sizes from tiny little AAAs to the much larger types that power our cars. For most people — myself included — car batteries are the largest type with which we’ve ever had to concern ourselves. Some of us may remember the days of buying AA batteries for our discman, but since then batteries have become even more abstract and simultaneously more important. Contained within our mobile devices, the batteries we use daily are invisible. We’ve even stopped using the word battery: my phone’s dead; or I need to charge my iPad.
Batteries are on the verge of becoming an even bigger part of our lives if not necessarily our lingo. The recent unveiling of a home battery by Elon Musk is an important indicator. One big step for batteries, one bigger step for mankind, for batteries are one of the main hurdles we must overcome in order to truly harvest green energy.
The key word here is harvest. Our current energy process is efficient because we can create power when we need it. Need heat? Got coal? Burn coal. Easy. Need heat? Got wind? Hmmm, quick, everyone into the giant gerbil wheel!
The wind and sun provide infinite and free energy, but not at our whim. If we want to keep the energy the Earth has to give us, we need a place to store it for use as needed. Enter batteries, the silos for our energy harvest.
Whether Musk’s batteries are effective enough or big enough is not the question. His push is only the first step. There will be more. As we increase battery capacity, we wean ourselves off of fossil fuels. No wind, no worry. Your battery has yesterday’s wind energy stored inside it. No more strip mining, no more burning dirty fossil fuels. Just harvesting what mother nature gives us and storing it in a battery. Clean energy on demand.
Batteries contain energy, but they may also hold the key to our planet’s health and our economy’s future.