Energy in the Future series: What's on the horizon for battery power?

An electric battery is an energy-storing device consisting of one or more electrochemical cells that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Batteries and fuel cells work similarly by converting chemical energy into electrical energy. However, batteries require recharging or disposal (a sealed system), whereas fuel cells require re-fuelling. There are a range of battery types, however, Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are the most commercially successful and developed. The technology is used in vehicles and consumer electronics to provide power.

Batteries can be used to store energy saved from regenerative braking. When combined with reversible power substations, the technology can be placed on-board independently powered trains on electrified routes to provide energy to train stations and reduce costs, especially when using stored energy at times when purchasing energy is costly. Batteries can be used to power auxiliary systems such as lighting, reducing engine idling. As they do not vibrate during their application, battery powered vehicles are more reliable than those with internal combustion engines and require less maintenance. Furthermore, batteries can use energy from any source therefore hydro, wind or biomass can be used instead of conventional fuels such as oil. A diversified energy portfolio could reduce energy dependency and the associated costs.

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