When will batteries take over the world?

What will it take for batteries to make a meaningful dent in greenhouse gas emissions?

In the 1990s, batteries powered your camcorder and boombox. Then your phone. Now they’re running your electric vehicle, and in some cases, even your house. 

At what scale will batteries meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas emissions? We may be nearing an inflection point with electric vehicle batteries, but we’re nowhere near as close with grid storage technologies. What’s it going to take to get there? 

Guest host Lara Pierpoint explores this question with battery expert David Schroeder, chief technology officer of Volta Energy Technologies, a venture capital firm focused on storage.

They talk about David’s two least-favorite phrases in the battery world: range anxiety” and long duration.” They also survey different applications for storage and discuss whether there’s a holy-grail technology that can satisfy the full breadth of these various demands.

Then, they zoom in on lithium-ion technology, the workhorse of EVs and storage. They cover safety, recalls and supply chains, as well as why lithium-ion is so expensive for grid applications. Then David explains why he’s optimistic about declining lithium-ion costs falling even further.

They also discuss recycling, flow batteries, thermal storage and mechanical storage by lifting and lowering heavy blocks of concrete. Oh, and nuclear watches.

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