Energy-storage technologies and electricity generation

Peter J. Hall, Euan J. Bain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

498 Citations (Scopus)


As the contribution of electricity generated from renewable sources (wind, wave and solar) grows, the inherent intermittency of supply from such generating technologies must be addressed by a step-change in energy storage. Furthermore, the continuously developing demands of contemporary applications require the design of versatile energy-storage/power supply systems offering wide ranges of power density and energy density. As no single energy-storage technology has this capability, systems will comprise combinations of technologies such as electrochemical supercapacitors, flowbatteries, lithium-ion batteries, superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) and kinetic energy storage. The evolution of the electrochemical supercapacitor is largely dependent on the development of optimised electrode materials (tailored to the chosen electrolyte) and electrolytes. Similarly, the development of lithium-ion battery technology requires fundamental research in materials science aimed at delivering new electrodes and electrolytes. Lithium-ion technology has significant potential, and a step-change is required in order to promote the technology from the portable electronics market into high-duty applications. Flow-battery development is largely concerned with safety and operability. However, opportunities exist to improve electrode technology yielding larger power densities. The main barriers to overcome with regard to the development of SMES technology are those related to high-temperature superconductors in terms of their granular, anisotropic nature. Materials development is essential for the successful evolution of flywheel technology. Given the appropriate research effort, the key scientific advances required in order to successfully develop energy storage technologies generally represent realistic goals that may be achieved by 2050.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4352-4355
Number of pages4
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number12
Early online date18 Oct 2008
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008


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