The importance of fossil fuels can’t be denied. Without fossil fuels, technology, industry and much of our way of life would not be possible. It’s because of fossil fuels that we were able to create the modern manufacturing industries that in turn allowed us to manufacture goods in a much faster and streamlined way. This forever changed the way that we develop products in mass quantities at an unprecedented rate. It also opened the doors for transportation and the implementation of our road and highway infrastructure that we now take for granted. It set ahead importing and exporting of everything imaginable from all corners of the world.
All of this is of great benefit to modern society, but it has not come without a price. As we continue to burn fossil fuels at an unprecedented and exponential rate, the damage that we do to the environment is increasing beyond what we may be able to repair. We’re stuck between the obvious need of consuming this fuel and potentially damaging the world we live in beyond the point of no return.
Having said this, with new technologies have come new ideas about how we might be able to generate the energy we need to power our society in cleaner and more efficient ways.
While there are many types of batteries that are commercially available, one type in particular stands out from the rest as a potential candidate for the holy grail when it comes to energy storage. Redox batteries, sometimes more commonly referred to as fuel cells, have immense power storage capabilities. The types of batteries that we use for common electronics like laptop computers, mobile phones or tablets work well, but they’re not typically known for incredibly large storage capabilities. In fact, ask anyone with a modern cell phone what their biggest complaint is and most will say the life of the battery per charge. Redox batteries on the other hand have the ability to store energy and power the systems they’re connected to for much, much longer.
A Redox battery, like many others, uses electrolyte solutions with a positive and negative terminal. Power is generated when electrons flow through a circuit. When the battery is not charged, it will gradually lose its charge. In order to renew the energy, fresh electrolyte solution is pumped from outside tanks to a converter where the charge is created. This ensures the battery can for such a long period of time.
How Are These ‘Batteries’ Charged?
It’s not so much that a Redox battery is charged, but because of their immense potential for energy storage, they can harness natural energy sources such as wind and solar which could otherwise be wasted. These energy sources that are continuously available could consistently add power to Redox batteries and store it until it’s ready to be used or delivered.
Types of Batteries and the Challenges That Come With Each
We’ve been using batteries of many sorts for some time and each have their specific uses. Some of the most common are:
- Lithium Ion
- Nickel Cadmium
- Lead Acid
- Lithium Polymer
One of the most common types that are commercially available and used in most electronics are lithium ion. This type is known for its ability to compact a high amount of energy into a small cell like package which means it’s well suited for use in small electronics. High energy and lightweight are the name of the game for lithium ion batteries.
Nickel Cadmium have been around for a long time and our knowledge of how these types of batteries work is well understood. Their low energy density however is their greatest negative, however their economical price is a strength.
Lead acid is best used when weight doesn’t matter, so these types of batteries are well suited for hospital equipment and emergency lighting. Lastly, lithium polymer batteries are used mainly for mobile phones.
Outlook on This Technology
Our world will continue to need additional power as more people begin requiring more energy. It’s important that we have the skilled professionals that help develop these types of incredible products so that our society can continue to improve and grow. There are colleges that will provide certificates of completion in areas of study such as Electronics Technicians that will help improve these batteries and energy storage systems through Online Technology Courses. The outlook in this field looks bright as intelligent minds will be needed to help further the development of these and other important technologies that will help power our lives.