How can we store renewable energy from sun and wind so that we can use it anytime and anywhere?
Fossil fuels have powered economic growth and improved quality of life for more than two centuries – and for good reason. They can store a great deal of energy, and it can be used any time. It’s available on demand. Renewable energy technology today can’t match that flexibility. At night, solar panels stop generating electricity. Wind turbines stand idle on still days. And when these renewables do produce power, it can’t be stored economically for later use. The challenge for the scientific community is how to gain flexibility from renewable sources. The vision at Berkeley Lab is “discovery to devices.” Ravi Prasher and his colleagues have pioneered efforts to use computing power to discover new materials. His group then synthesizes the materials, and finally makes devices to test in the real world. He stresses that researchers are doing what they must: moving toward a future when we can assure steady, flexible, economical clean energy.
Ravi’s expertise is in energy science and technology, thermal management and nanotechnology. He is the Division Director of Energy Storage and Distributed Resources division at the Berkeley Lab. Previously, Ravi was the VP of product development of Sheetak Inc., a startup developing solid state thermoelectric energy converters. Ravi earlier worked as one of the first program directors at the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E effort. Read more.