What’s Next for Renewable Energy [Infographic]
- May 28, 2021 11:42 am GMT
In the not-so-distant year of 2025, the global renewable energy market will be a $1.5 trillion industry. That is a dramatic jump from where it was in 2019, when solar and wind power generated $18.7 billion and $14 billion in investments, respectively. This leap forward is powered in large part by demand; 71% of Americans think clean energy should be a priority and nearly half of consumers are willing to pay, on average, $15 per month more for renewable energy to power their homes. Climate awareness and the desire to reduce pollution are the driving factors for these changes.
The largest hurdle preventing wind and solar from meeting this demand for sustainable energy is battery technology. Right now, lithium-ion batteries fuel everything from electric vehicles to smartphones. They were invented in 1912 and have changed little in the past century. The limitations of lithium batteries are numerous: they degrade quickly over time, they’re water intensive to produce, they’re difficult to extract without poisoning the water supply, and recycling is a difficult, costly process. These issues with sustainability hardly bode well for a green future. While lithium batteries may still be useful in mobile applications, they should be retired from long duration, energy intensive, stationary operations.
Instead, they should be replaced with vanadium flow batteries in solar and wind systems. Vanadium flow batteries don’t degrade: their charge and discharge stay full throughout their lifespan, and they have over 25 years of useful life with routine maintenance. They also aren’t explosive or flammable, making them safer than lithium-ion batteries. Finally, recycled vanadium retains full functionality, as do 100% of its electrolyte in a new battery. Vanadium flow batteries are the energy storage of the future. They will be the key to the success of green energy on a global scale.
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