Researchers at Imperial College London have solved the enigma of energy storage costs in future. They believe electric car and home storage batteries could rival alternatives in terms of cost sooner than we think. Their news that battery costs are catching up faster than expected could see a huge surge forward for renewables.
How Statistics Proved Battery Costs Are Catching Up Faster
The Imperial College scientists based their model on the premise that new technologies develop and mature. Thus, as costs come down sales increase, and economies of scale drive down costs further.
This was how Henry Ford jump-started the American mass auto industry. Now, the researchers believe the same is about to happen with storage batteries.
What the Imperial College Researchers Found is Amazing
The team believes electric cars could potentially rival petrol in terms of cost by 2022. Moreover, home storage batteries could also compete by the 2030’s. This appears to vindicate Bill Gate’s and Barack Obama’s earlier claims that energy storage is “one of the key technologies of a low carbon 21st Century”.
The researchers built a database to prove that battery costs are catching up faster than expected. Their tool measured the historic relationship between falling cost and rising capacity, over time. This model enabled the statistically reliable predictions they announced earlier this month.
The final cost-benefit relationship between electricity and petrol depends on what happens with both variables. The scientists believe electric car battery costs are catching up fast enough to guarantee breakeven by 2034, at the very latest. But, Tesla’s Model 3 car could bring us closer to their optimistic 2022 prediction, if sales take off as Elon Musk predicts.
The Optimistic Promise of a Battery-Powered Future
The UK is currently building Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant. Their $25.74 bn project will produce 3.2 gigawatt of power on demand, after they finish the job in 2025. Researchers at Imperial College believe investing the same amount in lithium-ion batteries could deliver 21 to 41 gigawatts of power within the same time scale. This is certainly something to think about, especially in the light of emerging renewable energy technology.
Preview Image: Wind Turbines, Lower Austria