battery technology

1:15pm

Mon February 7, 2011
Smart Grid

Battery facility could lead to a greener grid

A Johnson City battery facility uses lithium-ion batteries to store and deliver energy to the grid.
Rafa Puerta via Flickr

Managing the power grid is a balancing act. As we flip on our coffee makers and turn on hairdryers, the grid is reacting, breathing harder, to keep up with our demand. A facility in upstate New York is using battery power to try to make walking that tight rope more efficient.

The energy experiment is playing out behind the smokestacks of an old brick coal power plant in Johnson City, N.Y. on a small, snowy lot.

The storage facility is contained in a row of shipping containers elevated on stilts. John Zahurancik, who's overseeing deployment of the project for AES Energy Storage says the trailers contain racks of batteries - about 80,000 of them.

So far this story is pretty easy to understand: the power grid needs to stay balanced to meet our energy needs, batteries store power.  Well here's where we get to the physics lesson. 

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