Clean Power

Published on April 3rd, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Bill Gates Provides Boost To Renewable Energy Storage Company Aquion Energy

April 3rd, 2013 by  

aquion energyBill 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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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Boss Bolts

    try inverted hydro stream that can turn 20 tons of water weight volume into 180,000 of kinetic energy tons at 3600 rpms under 900 G-s. And 18,000 tons of positive kinetic energy to turn turbine generators in the form of clean energy as water is recycled from tank through and passed turbine generators

  • Baz

    Nuclear, dead in the water and heavily subsidised. You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about…

    • huh?

    • Do you?

      • Baz

        I’m 22, with a Degree in Physics and a MSc in Nuclear Reactors. I also work for a engineering consulting company who specialise in the Nuclear Industry. So I’ll let you figure that out… Btw I’m all for renewable tech especially solar but we are kidding ourselves if we think we can produce all our energy needs solely from it. Atm the tech is at it’s infancy with time and research/funding there is no doubt it will become a dominant player. But atm Nuclear is our only viable option to meet energy demands whilst reducing CO2 emissions. Gen 4 nuclear reactors (Fast Reactors) will use the Nuclear waste from old dirty reactors and hopefully Fusion will be commercially viable at this point too. Renewables currently are inefficient and costly but over time this will not be a problem, energy storage is also a concern but again with time this will also be solved until then we best get use to nuclear.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Baz, if you have a Master of Science then you’ve had some
          basic training in research and a bit of introduction to the philosophy of science. You must know that data-based statements carry more weight than do opinions.

          It’s more than clear that we could supply 100% of our energy needs from renewable sources. Jacobson and Delucchi did that bit of math in 2009.

          Solar, alone, provides far more harvest-able energy than we can conceive of using.

          We know that we can run major grids using nothing but renewable energy. Budischak, et al. ran the numbers for the largest wholesale grid in the world. Diensendorf, et al. did the same for all of Australia.

          While Jacobson and Delucchi showed that the energy was available and we have the technology needed to harvest it these other studies have shown that it would be practical to use renewables for our energy needs.

          Clearly your opinion that ” Nuclear is our only viable option to meet energy demands whilst reducing CO2 emissions” is incorrect. Data tells us so.

          Gen4 reactors are hypotheses. They are unproven ideas.

          They might work or, like pebble bed reactors, they might not work. Until proven we can’t consider building our grid supply around them. The same holds for fusion.

          Someday. Perhaps….

          Furthermore there is no reason to suspect that Gen4 reactors, if they can prove themselves, would be cheap enough to use.

          Nor would Gen4 reactors deal with the majority of our nuclear waste problem. At best they would decrease the amount of waste fuel we have but they would do nothing for the millions and millions of gallons/pounds of liquid/solid radioactive waste that is plaguing us. They would, in fact, create even more.

          Energy storage is the big problem facing us right now. It’s certainly not an unsolvable problem since we could do the job with pump-up hydro. We have more than enough places to build all the pump-up we would need (existing dams would give us plenty locations, closed loop greatly expands the number).

          We aren’t to the point at which large scale storage is needed. Wind and solar in the US are in the 5% range and our grids can convert to ~40% wind/solar before storage is needed. By the time we need storage we are likely to see better options than pump-up.

        • agelbert

          Elon Musk has made much better use of his degree in physics than you have.

          Nuclear is a box canyon. It always was but taxpayers were fooled into funding these “too cheap to meter” boondogles for making weapons grade plutonium. It’s over for that poison generating bureaucratic, closed nuclear club, secrecy loving and high salary demanding monstrocity.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Baz, as an old retired guy with his career behind him I’d suggest you think about your future.

          Were I you I’d consider joining the Navy and working in their nuclear activities. Twenty years and you’d earn retirement.

          The US nuclear industry is probably one more meltdown away from melting down in toto.

          I’m not saying we’re going to loose control of one, but we continue to wander off in that direction from time to time. If we do a full Homer and let a significant amount of glowing stuff get outside the containment dome we’re likely to see a Germany/Belgium/Japan/Switzerland reaction to just shut them all down. It could happen.

          I suppose you could finish out your career in cleanup, but that doesn’t sound very interesting. Being a janitor wearing lead briefs….

  • I’ve liked the inexpensive and effective aspects of this Sodium Ion Electrical Storage Technology since I came accross it about a year ago. I’m glad Bill Gates sees the value of it as well.

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