Whether you realize it or not, energy storage systems are everywhere. If you’re reading this blog right now, you’re using some form of energy storage to do that – likely a lithium-ion battery powering your laptop or cell phone. Portable vacuums and power tools, electric vehicles, airplanes, ships, ancillary applications to enhance transportation systems, backup systems to store energy for a variety of other uses (data centers, grid-connected systems, cell phone towers, renewables when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing), medical devices, such as pacemakers – all of these things have some energy storage component.
The most popular type of energy storage systems as of late are:
- Lead-acid batteries (which are used in internal combustion engine vehicles)
- Nickel metal hydride batteries (used in some plug-in electric vehicles)
- Flow batteries (used mostly for electric grid storage applications)
- Supercapacitors (used in applications requiring many pulse charges and for high-power versus high-energy),
- Lithium-ion batteries (used in a wide variety of applications),
- Next-generation (“beyond lithium-ion”) systems, such as solid-state batteries, lithium-air, lithium-sulfur, and so on.
Lithium-ion batteries have generated the most buzz as of late, because they can be used in so many different applications. The sudden and rapid push for different types of electric vehicles (EVs), for instance, has caused a similar surge in research and development (R&D) of more powerful and efficient lithium-ion batteries. Billions of public and private sector dollars have been invested in R&D to develop batteries and energy storage systems that can do things like power EVs with longer driving ranges at a reasonable cost. In today’s connected, mobile world, it’s clear that batteries are here to stay.
NextEnergy has been involved in a number of different energy storage initiatives, from convening or sponsoring major industry events, to funding the development of advanced energy storage systems, to integrating energy storage into platforms like our NextEnergy’s smart home system for testing and validation. We also serve as a dot connector for venture support services. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce, industry, and other partners, such as Corporation for a Skilled Workforce (CSW), Center for Automotive Research (CAR), PlugVolt, The Battery Show, Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), Clean Energy Trust, and others have all supported and collaborated with us in one way or another. These partners have been critical in helping us nurture the domestic energy storage ecosystem.
For example, NextEnergy and our partner, PlugVolt, LLC, are excited to announce that we will host an exclusive two-day energy storage seminar, May 28-29, 2014 at NextEnergy Center in Detroit. The event will focus on present and future needs of portable and stationary electrochemical energy sources, highlight the latest technological developments designed to satisfy application requirements – especially for automotive, defense, and stationary systems – and will feature leading battery makers, automotive OEMs, and public and private sector leaders in the energy storage community. If you have an interest in energy storage, you do not want to miss this event! Visit nextenergy.org/plugvoltseminar to view the latest agenda and register. We are also working with event organizers from The Battery Show to continue building on the momentum around that event, happening September 16-18, 2014 in Novi, Michigan.
NextEnergy looks forward to our continued support of the energy storage ecosystem and helping to advance “what’s next” for energy storage systems in a mobile, connected world.
Learn more about NextEnergy’s work in advanced energy storage here.