The planet is not necessarily doomed. It’s easy to fall into believing that, with bad news coming every day, but the most dangerous action to take is none. You’ve got to do something — large or small. Meanwhile, scientists are working around the clock to find innovative ways to undo the damage and reduce how much we change/destroy the planet going forward.
Technology is a big part of that conversation, but where will it fit? What are the technologies we should be looking for and investing in? Here are several big ideas worth that we’ll need to install, invest in, and rally behind as we go forward to help protect the planet.
Renewable power is taking over; it’s cheap, it’s relatively easy to set up, and it simply makes use of energy we’re already getting anyway. The problem is a matter of timing; the wind does not always blow and the sun doesn’t always set. So, to store power and discharge when we need it, that means not only building enormous batteries but finding new battery technology.
One promising trend is solid-state battery technology. Batteries as we know them are limited by the materials we use, which have a solid cathode and anode floating in an electrolyte solution. Solid-state batteries do away with the solution and have everything as a solid material. This already has some advantages, namely solid-state batteries don’t explode, meaning you’ll likely see them in consumer electronics first.
But you’ll also likely see fields of them in the future, or one next to every house, keeping the lights on. Solid-state batteries charge quickly and retain charge, and they have a long, long shelf-life. There is, of course, a catch: They’re harder to get energy out of. So expect the main work in the future to be on making these batteries better, with a focus on smaller batteries in houses and creating “microgrids” in neighborhoods.