10 technologies to watch in 2011
12/15/2010 1:01 AM EST
Energy storage media sought
Many exotic technologies loom as long-term prospects for efficient energy storage, but
to date none poses a commercially feasible alternative to lithium-ion batteries, and recent refinements to lithium-ion technology will keep it in the lead for the short haul.
A123 Systems, a developer and manufacturer of advanced Li-ion batteries based on nanoscale materials that were conceived at MIT, was recently selected to develop battery packs for a 2012-model-year electric passenger car from Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., the largest automaker in China. A123 has also signed a deal to sell 44 megawatts' worth of its batteries to AES Energy Storage, in a step toward putting solar and wind farms on the grid.
While lithium-ion today is the poster child for energy storage, the technology has inherent limits in energy density and readily available raw materials. Those restrictions, in turn, could limit the production of electric vehicles if a commercially feasible alternative to lithium-ion batteries is not found soon.
A123 Systems Nanosphosphate Lithium Ion batteries offer one of the most commercially feasible power sources for hydrid vehicles.
— Nicolas Mokhoff