• Question: Given that all eco-friendly methods of energy generation produce electricity but we are unable to store vast amounts of electricity, do we need to find a new method of electricity storage or change our reliance on electricity for example biofuel?

    Asked by 548xmasen22 to Hannah, James, Meggi, Olivia, Oli, Paul, Saiful on 4 Jan 2017. This question was also asked by 695xmasen26.
    • Photo: Mechthild Luebke

      Mechthild Luebke answered on 4 Jan 2017:

      I guess this is a question of smart organization. There are many ways of producing energy as you point out.

      One idea might be that all energy sources and energy consumers are connected with nearly no energy loss during transport. This would mean that we can transfer the energy from one place where we have excess to the place where the energy is needed.

      It is the question if we want to store all energy in batteries. There are stationary alkali ion batteries or even redox flow batteries (redox flow batteries are interesting for remote areas). As an alternative, there is a pilot attempt in northern Germany: There is a huge concentration of biomass energy, wind and solar energy and at the same time not enough consumption. The idea was now to use the excess energy for a methanol plant (splitting of water). This gas is a new energy source for e.g. cars. The energy is therefore stored via conversion into a new form. A similar attempt of converting the energy is via pumping water upwards. These are just a few examples and there are far more. Batteries are still more attractive just because they show far higher efficiencies. This means if I put 100% of energy into a battery I get nearly 100% out again. Pump-hydro and water splitting would give far less energy out.

      We still need to find more efficient, sustainable and also new ways of storing energy. In the end, there will be most likely several solutions, depending also on the location and energy consumption behavior. I am not sure about bio fuel.


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