Advertising Feature solar power by providing a source of cheap large-scale energy storage. In a more compact form, molten salt technology also offers an effective solution for battery storage. F ollowing recent breakthroughs (see case study), new molten salt batteries are on track to become viable for widespread use in electric vehicles sooner than once imagined possible.
“The EcoIsland project on the Isle of Wight aims to make the entire island carbon neutral”
While the pairing of molten salt technology and concentrated solar holds great potential as a future grid-level energy source, it is only part of the picture.
ydrogen storage and other technologies are advancing in parallel - some vying for common market space - others integrated in novel ways to produce a multiplier effect.
As these technologies evolve, the signs point to a heterogeneous energy future where a variety of renewable energy sources including wind, wave, solar and others, are used in parallel and in a range of different applications.
Examples of heterogeneous renewable ‘ecosystems’ are already up and running. The most famous example is Masdar City.
Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, is a UAEbased alternative power company that began work in 2006, constructing a fully sustainable, zero -carbon, zerowaste ecology outside of Abu Dhabi.
When fully operational, Masdar City will utilise a mix of solar PV, wind, hydrogen and geothermal for 40,000 people and more than
1,000 businesses. Meanwhile, the EcoIsland project on the Isle of Wight aims to make the entire island carbon neutral and energy independent by 2020.
As solar is able to compete on price and performance at offpeak, as well as on-peak times, its longer-term transformative potential will become apparent.
In parallel, emerging forms of energy storage such as molten salt are providing the means to realise the full impact of these advances in both grid level and small-scale applications.
When integrated with other renewable energy sources, the potential for entirely new low-cost, efficient and very disruptive energy solutions may quickly emerge.
We may begin to see system-wide