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More regions of the world are looking to decarbonize electricity production using wind and solar power generation. This major transition from traditional power sources comes with a number of technological difficulties for grid operators and a myriad of political, economic, and technological options to correct these issues. Often, the root problem associated with renewable power generation is posed as one of generation intermittency. The current grid model is based on one where generation is continually altered to match the current demand of the end users, so naturally the focus trends toward what can be done to make the intermittent generation match the daily demand. This has led to a strong focus on developing new energy-storage systems to create systems which are capable of shifting energy at the scale that will be necessary to support grids with a high penetration of renewable resources.
With today's rapidly increasing demand for lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) for emerging applications, such as electric vehicles (EVs) and large-scale grid storage, it begs the question of how sustainable batteries really are. Proponents of increasing electrification of our modern society often tout the environmental benefits of using battery energy storage over traditional fossil fuels, citing direct reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, especially when paired with renewable energy generation. Unfortunately, these often leave out considerations for the “dark side” of LIBs that few manufacturers in the battery industry have addressed: how to deal with batteries at their end of life. As the world accelerates toward displacing conventional vehicles with EVs, methods of handling large volumes of spent LIBs when these devices reach their end of life have not been fully developed. This potentially results in the accumulation of battery waste that will ultimately undo the environmental benefits batteries originally sought to achieve.
The effects of the coronavirus global pandemic have rippled through many lives and have upended aspects of health care, transportation, and the economy in virtually every country. The energy materials and renewable generation and conversion market, which includes battery-powered electric vehicles, grid storage, and personal electronic devices, is no exception.
Ammonia can supplement hydrogen gas as a clean fuel to combat climate change. It overcomes hindrances that currently impede the realization of the full potential of hydrogen gas, including economical storage, political commitment, and safety concerns.
Hydrogen, the simplest of all molecules, made of the simplest of all atoms, is a material that has successfully accomplished many historic missions: it has powered the engines of space rockets and has served in the ammonia-based fertilizer revolution, the iron and steel sector, and electronics manufacturing. But the task of putting hydrogen in the center of the global energy scene has proven tantalizing, perpetually coming closer to materialization, but repeatedly being pushed to the future. Is it possible that the time has arrived for hydrogen to finally come into its own?
In this age of global warming, the automotive industry is seeking to minimize the energy required to manufacture and operate its products without sacrificing performance and safety or increasing cost. Toward this end, whether cars and trucks are powered by internal-combustion engines or batteries, lowering vehicle weight is a major contributor to reducing energy consumption by increasing fuel efficiency. “The industry is driven by fuel efficiency,” said David Matlock of the Colorado School of Mines, who has helped develop advanced high-strength steels (AHSSs) used in autos.
Battery technology has come a long way since September 1899, when Ferdinand Porsche’s electric powered car won its first road race. The “Egger-Lohner electric C.2 Phaeton” carried a Tudor brand lead-acid battery that weighed 500 kg and propelled the 1350-kg vehicle with 3 hp (2.2 kW for 3–5 h) for 80 km.
The lightest element has carried a heavy burden for half a century. Expectations for the hydrogen economy, first proposed in the 1970s, have been high. But hydrogen as a renewable, low-carbon fuel for vehicles, heating, and energy storage has remained evasive, held back by high costs, low efficiency, and a lack of infrastructure and storage technologies.
According to the US Department of Energy’s Energy Infomation Administration (EIA) (International Energy Outlook 2017), world energy consumption will increase 28% between 2015 and 2040, rising from 575 quadrillion Btu (∼606 quadrillion kJ) in 2015 to 736 quadrillion Btu (∼776 quadrillion kJ) in 2040. EIA predicts increases in consumption for all energy sources (excluding coal, which is estimated to remain flat)—fossil (petroleum and other liquids, natural gas), renewables (solar, wind, hydropower), and nuclear. Although renewables are the world’s fastest growing form of energy, fossil fuels are expected to continue to supply more than three-quarters of the energy used worldwide. Among the various fossil fuels, natural gas is the fastest growing, with a projected increase of 43% from 2015 to 2040. As the use of fossil fuels increases, the EIA projects world energy-related carbon dioxide emission to grow from ∼34 billion metric tons in 2015 to ∼40 billion metric tonnes in 2040 (an average 0.6% increase per year).
Earth’s cryosphere is shrinking. The cryosphere is the frozen part of our planet that is covered by solid water and where ground temperature remains below 0°C for at least some part of the year. From the North to the South Pole, as well as on the highest altitudes, scientists have recently observed the seasonal snow cover decreasing, the permafrost thawing, and the ice retreating.