Meet the battery visionaries of the future
As demand for electric vehicles grows exponentially, the battery market has never been hotter. But what if electric vehicles are just the start of a battery-powered future?
Batteries are set to play a pivotal part as society seeks to replace fossil fuels with more sustainable energy sources. We asked visionaries from three different fields to share their thoughts on how battery technology will reshape society and drive the energy transition while reducing emissions.
Iola Hughes, Research Manager, Rho Motion
What is energy stationary storage (ESS)?
In energy stationary storage systems, batteries are connected either to the grid or to residential battery units. Renewables connected to the grid are generally variable in nature. As we move forward in the energy transition, batteries can help balance these fluctuations and help deal with peak demand or supply drops.
What stage is the market at now?
The industry has taken off over the last three years with a massive ramp-up in the number of batteries installed and the size of the projects. The USA and China are the forerunners, with legislation and potential tax cuts driving the development. Overall, Europe has fallen behind regarding big, grid-scale batteries due to a lack of policy support.
Why is ESS vital to society today and tomorrow?
Batteries provide an opportunity for energy independence. They are also essential in reducing CO2 emissions
The current energy crisis makes the role of stationary storage even more pressing. Apart from grid storage stability, batteries provide an opportunity for energy independence. They are also essential in reducing CO2 emissions as they can replace diesel generators in big applications that need backup power, such as factory lines, hospitals and data centers.
Why are lithium-ion batteries a preferred choice?
Essentially, it comes down to costs and availability. Over the last 10 to 15 years, massive investments in the EV market have driven significant technology advancements. The price drops now make lithium-ion batteries suitable for stationary applications. ESS is around 10 percent of the lithium-ion battery demand and growing fast. Over the last year, manufacturers that, at least initially, serve the ESS sector exclusively have started to pop up.
Do you have a vision for ESS?
Battery energy storage systems are essential to the energy ecosystem moving forward. I anticipate a future grid made up of renewables, energy storage and nuclear, which I think is essentially your perfect mix of a grid.
Clem Newton-Brown, CEO, Skyportz
Everyone is looking to the battery industry to improve and to enable these aircraft to fly further
What is air mobility and how is it linked to the battery industry?
Advanced air mobility covers a range of new and emerging aviation technologies, including passenger, freight and smaller drone delivery aircraft. Battery life is a limiting factor, so everyone is looking to the battery industry to improve and to enable these aircraft to fly further.
What is your vision for the future with regard to air mobility?
There are already small delivery drones operating around the world. The next step will be piloted freight and passenger electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. These will eventually become autonomous once the pilot can safely be removed.
What are the main challenges for air mobility?
No government has provided a definitive road map for the industry to enable new vertiports to be established. We need to break the nexus between airports and aviation to enable new landing sites that will see the industry fulfill its potential.
What are the opportunities?
The property industry is very late to the party, and Skyportz is working with property owners who can see the vision to support all the great work going on in the development of the aircraft, batteries and operating systems.
How do you envision air taxis and other electric flying vehicles changing society?
Initially, I expect a handful of launch cities to start operating eVTOLs in the next few years. Once the concept is proven, things will move rapidly. The more vertiport sites that are enabled, the more transformative the industry will be for society.
Gustav Hasselskog, CEO, Candela Technology
In what ways are Candela's boats a disruptive technology?
Conventional planing boats and ships require a lot of energy when operating at high speeds. For example, a 25-foot powerboat needs 15 times more fuel than a family car. So using a 100-kWh car battery in a 25-foot leisure boat hull would only support very low range at high speeds. We have developed the first fast electric vessels with long range.
Furthermore, our boats barely create any wake, causing minimal damage to shorelines. They’re very silent, since they fly above the waves, and there’s no slamming, rolling, pitching or heaving.
We need the lightest batteries possible, which is why lithium-ion is our choice.
How important is access to lithium-ion batteries for the technology to work?
Extremely important. Candela boats are built like aircraft, to be as light as possible using carbon fiber, to maximize range. We need the lightest batteries possible, which is why lithium-ion is our choice.
How does your technology reduce energy consumption?
To make electric boats viable, you need to drastically reduce energy consumption. By using computer-actuated hydrofoils, or underwater wings, which lift the hull above the friction of the water, we can reduce energy consumption by 80 percent compared with traditional vessels.
Why is energy efficiency important when applying battery-powered technology to areas such as this?
Our hydrofoil boats use very little energy compared with conventional boats and ships. This is important not only in order to achieve long range, but also to conserve the renewable energy that surely will be a scarce commodity as electrification accelerates.
What is your vision for the future of marine transport?
The waterways have largely not been used for fast passenger transport since railroads and highways were invented, yet they are our oldest form of infrastructure. Candela’s mission is to introduce high-speed electric commuter vessels that can travel faster in cities than cars and buses in rush-hour traffic.
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