After years of neglect, scientists and policy makers are focusing more attention on developing technologies needed to make the so-called “green grid” possible, according to an article in ACS’ Chemical Reviews.
That’s the much-needed future electrical grid, an interconnected network for delivering solar and wind-based electricity from suppliers to consumers.
Zhenguo (Gary) Yang and colleagues point out that concerns over the use of coal, oil, and other fuels that contribute to global warming and are in limited supply, have spurred interest in generating electrical energy from clean, renewable resources such as solar and wind power. But solar and wind are not constant and reliable sources of power, since wind power fluctuates from moment to moment and solar power is generated only in the daytime.
This situation poses a significant challenge for electrical grid operators because other power plants need to compensate for this variability and the U.S. power grid currently has little energy storage capability. To enable a significant level of penetration and effective use of renewable energy sources amid growing energy demands, electrical grids of the future will need a low-cost, efficient way to integrate and store this electrical energy, the scientists note.