This bold vision addresses pressing national needs to reduce carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency, accelerate deployment of renewable solar and wind electricity on the grid, and modernize the grid with new operating concepts that strengthen its flexibility, reliability, and resilience.
Next-generation energy storage could meet these needs for transportation and the grid with a single dramatic innovation: batteries that deliver five times the energy density at one-fifth the cost. Such batteries would allow inexpensive electric cars to drive five times farther on a single charge, rivaling the 400-mile range of conventional gasoline cars, and they would make storing and releasing electricity on the grid just as cheap as generating it with natural gas turbines.
Next-generation energy storage has the potential to replace traditional, century-old fossil fuel technologies with newer, more sustainable and cleaner alternatives. The market implications are impressive: transportation and the grid account for nearly 70 percent of US energy use, compared to 2 percent for personal electronics powered by today’s lithium-ion batteries. In energy terms, next-generation batteries could have at least 10 times the market reach of today’s batteries. In dollars and cents, channeling half the transportation and grid energy through storage would create a market 10 times larger than personal electronics powered by lithium-ion batteries, which currently stands at $15-$20 billion.