How to keep the lights on when fossil fuels are gone

‘Imagine a 540-foot tower spiking through the flat Nevada horizon, storing energy as thousands of surrounding mirrors reflect sunlight to heat molten salt inside. Or how about solar cells on individual homes in constant electronic communication with utility companies to tailor energy needs? And then there’s the molecule that stores energy by changing its atomic structure when light hits it!

All these ideas and more promise to change how we think about energy storage and distribution in the next few decades to establish a world fueled by renewables. But why do we need new technology in order to use solar and wind power, touted for their renewability and minimal environmental impact, when we can already disseminate energy from fossil fuels to millions of homes? To answer this question, we must understand how the typical electrical grid works and how its fundamental operations need to change to accommodate new energy sources…’

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To learn how policy and technology are paving the way for renewable integration into the electrical grid, check out my second guest post at the ‘Eyes on Environment’ blog on Nature’s Scitable network.  The above couple paragraphs are the opening snippet, just to whet your appetite.  Click here for the rest!

References

1)

Kucharski, T., Ferralis, N., Kolpak, A., Zheng, J., Nocera, D., & Grossman, J. (2014). Templated assembly of photoswitches significantly increases the energy-storage capacity of solar thermal fuels Nature Chemistry, 6 (5), 441-447 DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1918

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