These companies want to go beyond batteries to store energy | MIT Technology Review

Energy Vault | 9 March 2023

If y’all have been around for a while, you know that I love writing about batteries (see exhibits A, B, and C). Using chemical reactions to store energy is handy and scaleable, and there are about a million ways to do it, which is why batteries have basically become synonymous with energy storage. 


But more groups are starting to think outside the battery. In an effort to cut costs and store lots of energy for long periods of time, researchers and companies alike are getting creative: pumping water into the earth, compressing gas in underground caverns or massive tanks, even lifting giant blocks. 

As we build more renewable energy capacity in the form of variable sources like wind and solar power, we’re going to need to add a lot more energy storage to the grid to keep it stable and ensure there’s a way to get electricity to the people who need it. Some of that energy storage might look a little different from the batteries we usually talk about around here, so let’s take a closer look at why battery alternatives are popping up, and what it might take to make them a reality. 


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