Bill Gates, the well known co-founder of Microsoft, has decided to provide a financial boost to renewable energy storage research and development (R&D). He is one member of a group of high-profile investors who are investing $35 million into Aquion Energy.
The company is creating a water-based battery system intended to be cheap and environmentally friendly. Aquion’s energy storage technology is reportedly being developed for large- and small-scale energy storage projects, and the company is delivering pre-production energy storage units throughout this year, with the intention to ramp up production at a high-volume manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania by the end of 2013.
“Aquion Energy is fundamentally changing the economics of power generation, transmission and distribution by delivering cost-effective energy storage systems that are made from abundant, nontoxic materials as simple as saltwater,” the company’s website states. “Aquion’s novel Aqueous Hybrid Ion (AHI) battery technology is optimized for stationary energy storage applications including off-grid and micro-grid systems, commercial and industrial energy storage, and grid scale applications.”
In the past, Bill Gates said that wind and solar were “cute” but contended that nuclear is the solution to the United States’ energy issues. Many people were advocating nuclear power at the time (a few years ago). However, the cost of nuclear power has increased since then, and it is still increasing. The cost of solar and wind power, meanwhile, have been on a rapid downward trend, especially the cost of solar panels themselves.
Nuclear now seems essentially dead in the water (except where heavily subsidized by governments or ratepayers). Still, though, either dispatchable energy sources or energy storage (or very widespread and intelligent electric grids) will be needed in order to one day reach a 100% renewable grid.
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