The world is evolving at a rapid pace, and technology is moving even faster. Twenty years ago, batteries were thought mainly as being used to power phones, computers and other electronic devices. Now in 2020, these same batteries are becoming the primary source of power for our vehicles. Due to global population growth, the demand for power is ever increasing, as is the need to store that power. Innovation in battery technology is helping us meet that goal as we witness a visible shift in the way the world is being powered. This article will explore the need to invest in battery technology and how this investment is linked with the fate of our planet.
In 2000, if advised to invest in battery technology, the average investor might have considered such an investment irrelevant or inopportune. Perhaps only some with a particular interest in social and environmental financing may have taken an interest, but the mainstream certainly wasn’t yet aware of the potential positive returns and the long-term beneficial impact on society that can be brought about through the development of battery technology. Investment in battery technology is important, not only for individual investors but also for governments looking to ensure reliable long-term energy supply for future generations.
Battery technology is an important aspect of renewable energy. Innovations in battery technology are vital for increasing the production and storage capacity of renewable energy. However, the significance of battery technology goes much further than just the ability to store energy. Before going into further depth about the significance of investing in battery technology, it is important to grasp the basic concept of the technology.
What is Battery Technology?
In technical terms, battery technology can be defined as a device made up of one or more electrochemical cells used for powering electrical devices, but such an explanation may not be understood by all. This article will attempt to define battery technology in both simpler
and more scientific terms.
Let’s start with the battery itself. A battery is a piece of equipment used to store electricity and other forms of energy in chemical form. While primary cell batteries are designed to be used once and then discarded, secondary cell batteries can be recharged and reused. What makes a secondary cell battery different from other storage equipment is its ability to be recharged. Once the stored energy is used and depleted, a battery can be refilled as soon as it gets a supply of energy.
Moving on to a more scientific explanation, battery technology works due to a fundamental reaction of reduction and oxidation. These reactions take place inside a sealed container. A battery contains a positive terminal and a negative terminal which are separated with the help of an electrolyte. The electrolyte allows electrons to move freely inside from one terminal to the other. This is the basic structure for all types of batteries ranging from a single battery cell to huge power storage batteries.
An important point that may be worth mentioning at this juncture is that with the increase in the use of battery technology, many different varieties of batteries have emerged in the market. Non-rechargeable, primary cell batteries are made up of zinc-carbon and alkaline while rechargeable, secondary cell iterations that were once made up of NiMH cells are now being made from lithium-ion.
Having defined the technology a bit more clearly, let’s move on to the need for greater investment in the technology.
Why Should We Invest in Battery Technology?
The growing demand for batteries comes with a natural need for increased investment in the technology. This investment does not necessarily have to involve buying stocks in companies that build existing battery technology. Instead, what may be more valuable would be to is invest in innovating new types of battery that better match our evolving needs. There is a need for greater research in this area to help us discover new ways of creating batteries that can be useful for future generations. Experts believe that if the demand for energy continues to grow at current rates, there will soon come a time when our existing infrastructure is no longer able to meet demand.
When battery technology innovators start exploring these new directions, the cost of production will ultimately decrease as will the cost passed on to consumers. Batteries already play a crucial role in our daily lives, but with innovation in technologies such as electric cars, that importance is growing continuously, resulting in a growing need for investment.
In 2019, three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work on lithium-ion batteries. This is important because it draws attention towards the connection between the fate of our planet and the need to invest in battery technologies. These scientists suggested battery technology as a solution to the future problems that are likely to be faced by coming generations and beyond. Their answer to meeting society’s impending problems was to research, improve, innovate, and promote investment in battery technology.
Moving on, we will look at emerging fields that are contributing to the increasing importance for investment in battery technology.
Electric Vehicles Becoming Mainstream
One of the most exciting developments of the last few decades has been the technological advancement and proliferation of electric vehicles. Technological improvements that have made electric vehicles more affordable and an increase in environmental awareness among consumers have contributed to the rapidly increasing demand for eco-friendly substitutes to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. Not only have electric vehicles attracted significant praise from consumers and governments striving to reduce the impacts of global warming, but they have also resulted in a need for greater and improved storage technologies.
In 2018, the increase in the sales of electric vehicles was recorded to be 63 percent and is predicted to continue growing significantly over the coming years. However, there are still certain barriers that are stopping some consumers from adopting this technology. The most significant of these barriers is the unavailability of charging stations. When driving a fuel-powered car, the consumers are confident that they will be able to find a gas station when needed. Contrarily, a driver of an electric vehicle does not hold such assurances. Major corporations that include Amazon and Tesla are working on the issue, but there is a need to urge governments to invest in these areas. Corporations are not able to undertake such a massive task on their own. Help and assistance from governments in sorely needed.
Investing in battery technologies will not only help governments in achieving their ecological goals, but it will also help the market for electric vehicles to grow and flourish further. Investment in battery technologies does not only refer to building electric charging stations but also to manufacturing and introducing new types of batteries that can reduce energy consumption rates while enhancing power and capacity capabilities. Tesla has recently announced the construction of its own “gigafactory” to not only produce electric vehicles but to also carry out research and develop innovations in battery technology for electric vehicles. Additionally, companies such as Quantum Space and Sion Power are developing solid-state batteries that are expected to be far safer and cheaper than the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles today.
It is important to note that currently used lithium-ion batteries can achieve 300 watt-hours per kilogram, where a solid-state battery can achieve much more. Furthermore, solid-state battery technology contains no electrolytes, making it not only safer but also reducing maintenance requirements over lithium-ion batteries. Solid-state batteries are in a state of development and investment made in this sector could lead to significant breakthroughs in the battery technology used in electric cars. Such investment can ultimately prove to be of great benefit to reducing fuel consumption and creating a more ecologically-friendly environment.
Battery Technology – A Powerful Way to Tackle Global Warming
Many people argue that technological advancement is the primary driver of global warming and climate change. On the other hand, some would argue that the development of new technology can be our final hope against global warming. One technology at the forefront of our battle against global warming is the battery, not the kind of battery that powers a cell phone or even an electric car but something much more substantial.
Before going into more detail on the relationship between batteries and global warming, it is essential to determine how the cheapest and most efficient source of energy can be developed. Today the most vital sources of energy that we produce come from petroleum products, fossil fuels and hydropower, while there exist two critical sources of infinite energy. The sun and wind are natural sources that provide an infinite source of energy. The problem, however, is how to store this infinite amount of energy, and the solution lies in battery technology.
Battery technology is considered to be the Holy Grail for producing clean and eco-friendly energy. When connected to a renewable energy source such as a solar panel or windmill, these batteries can store energy that can be used when needed. The use of such battery storage in this way can also significantly consumer electricity bills. Thus, if used together battery technology, renewable energy sources can not only reduce harmful emissions but also prove to be economical.
Many homes and businesses are being powered with renewable energy sources used in tandem with battery technology, but there is still a need for innovation and discoveries in this realm. Current battery technology can store energy for days or even months; but, what happens when sunlight is concealed by clouds or when the wind stops blowing? What is needed is a technology that can store energy for years or even decades. Governments cannot only meet the energy need with the help of battery technology but can also shift completely from other more expensive sources of energy.
The revenue spent by governments around the globe on energy production has a serious impact on living standards. Investment in conventional energy production is returned by charging the consumer in the form of electricity bills. Battery technology will require less investment compared to traditional energy production and will be able to store far more than dams or petroleum plants. Thus, governments need to invest in this area to not only counter climate change but to also provide the consumer with safer and cheaper energy.
Battery technology is undergoing quick expansion as the demand for electric vehicles and mobile phones are increasing. However, heavy batteries that can convey huge current are still in their initial stage of development. The main barrier to greater advancement of this technology is awareness among the general public. The battery market can only grow if disbelief among the general public is overcome.
Many people still believe that battery technology can only be used for modest functions such as powering a mobile phone, a fan, or an electric car. Storage technology is expected to grow by 6 percent per annum, which is considered rapid growth. This growth rate could increase even further if the appropriate investment is provided and general awareness improves. As more and more people shift toward renewable energy, demand for batteries will also increase.
Another important area where investment could be made to increase the demand for battery technology is in the development of electric appliances which require such energy. Current household appliances such as air conditioners, televisions, bulbs are designed specifically to work with hydropower or fossil-fuel generated electricity. If companies are encouraged to develop appliances that rely on renewable energy function, the public will defiantly shift toward battery technology that is much cheaper and safer.
In a Nutshell
The world is evolving at a rapid pace and, for humanity’s advancement and ultimate survival, we must evolve with it. Some see technology as a danger to the world, but the reality is the opposite. Technology, when used properly, can prove to be the savior of mankind. One such technology is the battery. Battery technology is the future and needs to be explored and invested into. It is imperative that governments around the world invest in the advancement of battery technology as its further development can be what allows future generations to power the planet.