Storing Renewable Energy
Widespread adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar energy and wind power, is challenging because they provide intermittent generating capacity. One solution to this challenge is to store electrical energy for later use. Currently, electricity is generated on demand and consumed almost instantly. The only adopted technology used to store excess energy at the scale of the electrical grid consists of pumping water uphill, which requires a special geography—an elevated reservoir—and it may disrupt the surrounding natural environment. In "A metal-free organic-inorganic aqueous flow battery," a team of Harvard researchers led by Michael Aziz, Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, combined computational methods and organic chemistry to create a battery particularly well suited for cost-effective storage of wind and solar electricity for use over extended periods when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining. You can read more about the team's innovation in DASH here.
Feature by Theodore Feldman, OSC Open Access Fellow and graduate student at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences