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2019-03-12. New fuel cell could help fix the renewable energy storage problem.

posted Mar 20, 2019, 10:49 PM by Alan Gould
By Robert F. Service, Science Magazine. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/03/new-fuel-cell-could-help-fix-renewable-energy-storage-problem] For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: If we want a shot at transitioning to renewable energy, we’ll need one crucial thing: technologies that can convert electricity from wind and sun into a chemical fuel for storage and vice versa.  ...In 2007, solar and wind provided just 0.8% of all power in the United States; in 2017, that number was 8%, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. ...In sunny California, for example, solar panels regularly produce more power than needed in the middle of the day, but none at night, after most workers and students return home. Some utilities are beginning to install massive banks of batteries in hopes of storing excess energy and evening out the balance sheet. But batteries are costly and store only enough energy to back up the grid for a few hours at most. Another option is to store the energy by converting it into hydrogen fuel.  ...Much of the energy was lost as heat. Now, two research teams have made key strides in improving this efficiency. ...In January, researchers ...reported in Energy & Environmental Science that they came up with a fuel electrode made from a ceramic alloy containing six elements that harnessed 76% of its electricity to split water molecules. And in today’s issue of Nature Energy, Ryan O’Hayre, a chemist at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, reports that ...Their ceramic alloy electrode, made up of five elements, harnesses as much as 98% of the energy it’s fed to split water....