Doug Vining A future black swan?

If this technology pans out as expected, it could prove to be a 'black swan' that fundamentally changes the landscape for energy collection and distribution. The business opportunities in the entire power value chain will be significant.
Posted: 23 April 2009 at 08:11

Wolfgang Grulke RE: A future black swan?

Agree - this could change the fabric of the energy industry, and be a 'house of cards' for all related industries - are they ready for this kind of thinking?
Posted: 23 April 2009 at 12:48

Doug Vining Liquid batteries get liquidity

One of the big problems with renewable energy is, how do you efficiently store electricity for when the wind is not blowing and the sun isn't shining - and you really need it? Batteries make a lot of sense, but they are difficult to scale up to keep New York running.

One way that has been suggested is to plug all those millions of (future) electric cars into the grid. They can charge up all day when their drivers are in the office, and feed back that power at night. But not only is that difficult to orchestrate, it has its own uncertainty built into the equation. I wouldn't be too happy, knowing my electric car was being drained for Mrs Jones's dinner; what if I suddenly got called out, and my car was flat, just when I needed it?

A more controllable idea is liquid batteries. They can theoretically be made as big as houses, or perhaps silos, while still having a relatively simple and stable chemical structure. Now some investors think it's a good idea.


This liquid battery cell prototype consists of a heavy liquid metal cathode (red layer), a ...
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Posted: 25 May 2011 at 11:05

Doug Vining Liquid batteries get liquidity

There was quite a bit of interest in this technology during my talk today on SAfm. Please feel free to comment!
Posted: 30 May 2011 at 16:17

Doug Vining Liquid batteries coming online

We spotted this technology a number of years back, and published a MindBullet about it.

Now the startup company developing the liquid metal battery is considering a new business model - instead of simply building batteries for sale, why not create large battery banks and simply sell the service of storing excess grid power, and providing it instantly, on demand, when needed most?

Kind of like a cloud-based energy supplier! This type of innovative thinking, in an increasingly deregulated energy market, could see the breakthroughs that are necessary to completely transform the energy industry.
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Posted: 26 April 2012 at 17:12

Doug Vining Batteries for the energy internet

We've talked many times about the approaching exponential innovations in energy technology, especially solar power. Solar is rapidly advancing to the point where, in some communities, there is more available during peak sunshine hours than can be consumed. And that's where energy storage becomes critical.

Tech investors and entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Elon Musk are looking to accelerate battery development and scale so that ordinary consumers can store energy from their rooftop solar panels, then use that or feed it into the grid when it's needed most. Musk is expected to announce the Tesla home battery quite soon. Once we have affordable, efficient storage, the 'internet of energy' will rapidly expand and ultimately make huge, centralized power utilities largely irrelevant. Perhaps they will just become the backbone, the network infrastructure of the energy internet.
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Posted: 14 April 2015 at 14:08

Anton Musgrave Battery storage improves exponentially

We now read of daily improvements to some of the core bottlenecks preventing mass scale changes in clean and renewable energy replacing the old dirty energy industries of the world. Exponential, combinatorial improvements are driving rapid changes. Cynics and vested interests still don't get it. Its just a matter of time.
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Posted: 4 March 2016 at 19:21

Doug Vining Backing up the grid

Seven years ago we published a MindBullet about a revolutionary new type of battery that could be scaled up to power a whole city - with liquid batteries. That hasn't materialised as yet, but Los Angeles is planning a massive lithium ion battery array that could take over the peak load in summer.
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Posted: 12 July 2016 at 14:41

Doug Vining Powerpacks for LA's peak

Many years ago, we wrote a MindBullet about big batteries that could power a city, especially in those peak periods in the evening, when everyone is heading home and cooking dinner. That's always been one of the headaches with solar power - what do you do when the sun goes down, and all those households with rooftop solar start downloading from the grid?

Well it seems Tesla has the answer in its Powerpacks, which can be scaled out to help utilities meet the peak. It might not be a whole city, but one of the first such installations near LA can power 15,000 houses for four hours, which is pretty useful. We can expect these battery storage solutions to become cheaper and more mainstream as the technology advances and enjoys economies of scale. These big battery farms might not be pretty, but they do work!
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Posted: 16 March 2017 at 15:03

Doug Vining Liquid batteries could gain from new discovery

As we wrote in our MIndBullet in 2009, massive liquid batteries have the potential to easily absorb spare solar or wind power, and release it later to keep a whole city on the go, balancing out grid demand. If the technology could be made reliable, and efficiently scaled up.

Now MIT have made a discovery which promises to make grid-scale liquid batteries a feasible proposition. Perhaps big cities will be able to add these to their energy systems after all.
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Posted: 23 January 2018 at 07:14
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