America has only half of the technology needed to decarbonize

According to the leading scientist ofArgonne National LaboratoryThe U.S. has only half of the technology needed to decarbonize its electricity and transportation sectors by 2050.

“The U.S. has half of the commercial technology the country needs to decarbonize,” he says George CrabtreeResponsible for US labs efforts to develop next-generation batteries for transportation and networking.

Regarding the network“We have storage batteries in the form of solar panels, wind turbines, lithium-ion batteries, and we can use these elements to decarbonize the network,” asserts George Crabtree.

However, “we don’t have the commercial technology for the other half, which is long-term storage for the network. […] A lithium-ion battery can discharge for four hours at full power. So we are far from achieving our goals. We need the next generation. »

Cloud passage can reduce solar output by 70%, says George Crabtree. “It’s a loss you have to make up for, and you have to do it on the spot. A lithium-ion battery is perfect for this. However, when the cloud hangs over a place for several days, lithium-ion batteries are drained in four hours and can’t cover the loss.

“When it comes to long-term storage, up to ten consecutive days, we run into problems.” declaredGeorge Crabtree. “That’s where we need next-generation batteries, which should be much cheaper than lithium-ion because they’re not used as often. »

From 2021, George Crabtree headed the Joint Energy Storage Research Center, headquartered in Argonne. A battery he developed attempted to reach that ten-day goal, and although it didn’t go that far, it was commercialized.

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Regarding transportation, “We have electric vehicles (EVs), but they are only light vehicles,” says George Crabtree. “We can handle passenger cars, light transport, but not rail, not long-distance trucks, not shipping, not aviation. For these segments, it usually takes two to three times or more the energy density of the battery. »

According to George Crabtree, passenger cars account for 50% of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, and lithium-ion could easily help reduce these emissions.

“Long-haul road, rail, sea and air transport make up the remaining 50%,” and are the biggest challenge. Larger and heavier vehicles require batteries with higher energy density.

A solid-state variant of the lithium-ion battery is often the first step.

“If we get a solid-state lithium-ion battery, which could happen in the next five years (I’m probably a bit optimistic), it will increase the energy density of light-duty vehicles. That includes vehicles like delivery trucks and, in some cases, city buses that need a bit more energy density. But all heavy-duty transportation Electrification will be a daunting task.”

However, this progress must be rapid if the United States and other countries are to achieve the goal Net zero emissions by 2050. “Setting a deadline makes the situation more urgent,” concludes George Crabtree.

Article translated from Forbes US – Author: Jeff MacMahon

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