The Future Belongs To Energy Storage Technology.
Lithium ion batteries are today about a 15 to 20 billion dollar market. The majority of these batteries are used in consumer electronics like phones, laptops and tablets. Electric vehicles and home energy storage are new players to the lithium ion battery market and the demand is just starting.
Renewable energy technologies such as solar pv and wind energy are by their very nature intermittant and because of this they need to be supported by non-intermittant sources such as combined cycle natural gas generators. When the wind slows down and the sun goes behind the clouds, our demand for energy will be just as high as every. In this case today a natural gas electric generator is immediatly brought online to pick up the shortage in supply.
This does not really make much sense financially or environmentally. The better way to do this would be to have large energy storage units storing our extra energy for use as a buffer to the solar pv and wind farms. The challenge today is that this storage, namely as lithium ion batteries, is five times more expensive than natural gas generators.
The Emphasis Is On Next Generation Energy Storage Technology.
This is the area that researchers are focusing not just with next generation lithium ion chemistry but with completely new ideas and technologies. The company or organization that develops a cost effective energy storage device that can allow the world to move past fossil fuels onto 100 % renewable energy, will profit beyond belief.
This is a great area for students to focus on as well. Careers in energy storage technology will be high paying an rewarding for generations to come. As a student of science and engineering the field of energy storage research should be interesting.