Battery Technology Breakthroughs
Increasing low-carbon energy across buildings and transportation is essential to reducing global emissions.
The scaling of these technologies will rely heavily on breakthroughs in battery technology, which will allow vehicles to travel longer distances on clean energy and enable low-carbon energy storage and increased resiliency to grid disruptions for buildings.
“The market is transforming itself and new low-carbon products are being rapidly introduced. Mitigation is becoming a value chain activity. Innovation and improvement regarding product design for low-carbon solutions is becoming increasingly competitive.”
Lithium-ion batteries are powerful enough for use in phones and laptops but have limitations in transportation and buildings. The energy density of the batteries built into cars is tiny compared with traditional fossil fuel energy, meaning their capacity cannot be increased without making them prohibitively heavy and costly.
Several major breakthroughs have been reported in battery technologies. In 2019, Australian start-up Climate Change Technologies announced a promising new grid storage option, billed as the world’s first thermal battery. Meanwhile, another group of scientists have demonstrated a new kind of battery featuring a liquid-free lithium-ion which results in decreased weight and reduced temperature volatility.
Nikola Corporation, an American hybrid truck design company is also reporting a breakthrough in battery technology that will be able to increase the range of EV passenger vehicles from 300 miles (462 kilometers) up to 600 miles (965 kilometers) with minimal increase in battery weight and size.
Breakthroughs in battery technology over the next five years will enable the scaling of electrified transportation across both the commercial and public sectors. Increased storage potential and declining costs will provide opportunities to connect millions of people and businesses to decentralized sources of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, simultaneously increasing opportunities for grid resiliency in the face of increasing physical impacts from climate change.