TED Talk Tuesday: The Missing Link To Renewable Energy

What’s the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage — so we can have power on tap even when the sun’s not out and the wind’s not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: “We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap.”


The problem at the heart of many renewable energy systems

How to store power so it can be delivered to the grid all the time, day and night, even when the wind’s not blowing and the sun’s not shining? At MIT, Donald Sadoway has been working on a grid-size battery system that stores energy using a three-layer liquid-metal core. With help from fans like Bill Gates, Sadoway and two of his students have spun off AMBRI, with the goal of bringing the battery to market. “With a giant battery,” Sadoway explains, “we’d be able to address the problem of intermittency that prevents wind and solar from contributing to the grid in the same way that coal and gas and nuclear do today.”

Ambri’s cells are made of three simple components — a salt (electrolyte) which separates two distinct metal layers (electrodes).
Ambri’s cells are made of three simple components — a salt (electrolyte) which separates two distinct metal layers (electrodes).


Ambri is commercializing the Liquid Metal Battery — a novel grid-scale electricity storage technology. The Liquid Metal Battery will fundamentally change the way power grids are operated on a global basis. It will provide numerous benefits to multiple stakeholders across the electric system value chain — utilities; independent power producers; transmission operators; and end-users. It will help integrate renewable resources like wind and solar, creating a cleaner electricity infrastructure; it will offset the need to build additional transmission, generation and distribution assets, which will lower electricity costs; it will enable users to reduce their electricity bills; and it will improve reliability in the face of an aging grid.

TED – http://www.ted.com/speakers/donald_sadoway
PHOTO CREDIT / AMBRI BROCHURE – http://www.ambri.com/storage/documents/2014-Brochure-v3.pdf
Additional Information:
Reinventing the battery: Donald Sadoway at TED2012


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