The shift to a low-/no-carbon economy is already underway, made possible in large part by the rapid decline in the cost of solar, wind, and other renewable-energy technologies. Even in the early years of this 20+ year transition, it’s already producing substantial economic and environmental benefits,1 but several technical obstacles still must be overcome along the way to a vibrant, sustainable future. Perhaps the most immediate challenge we face is finding better ways to store electrical power produced by clean, but variable, sources for use whenever and wherever it's needed.
In this article, we'll explore some of the most promising advanced battery technologies expected to come to market within the next few years, and how they plan to deliver dramatically lower cost per kilowatt-hour, higher power densities, and longer service lives. In the process, we’ll also look at whether their unique characteristics will require designers to take new approaches to how they’re charged, managed, and protected.