Proceedings of the IEEE - Popular - Whittingham

Proceedings of the IEEE - Popular - Whittingham

History, Evolution, and Future Status of Energy Storage

Published in May 2012

Proceedings of the IEEE - Popular - Whittingham


M. Stanley Whittingham


Advanced energy storage has been a key enabling technology for the portable electronics explosion. The lithium and Ni-MeH battery technologies are less than 40 years old and have taken over the electronics industry and are on the same track for the transportation industry and the utility grid. In this review, energy storage from the gigawatt pumped hydro systems to the smallest watt-hour battery are discussed, and the future directions predicted. If renewable energy, or even lower cost energy, is to become prevalent energy storage is a critical component in reducing peak power demands and the intermittent nature of solar and wind power. An electric economy will demand more electrification of the transportation sector and it is likely that all vehicles sold by the end of this decade will have some level of hybridization. Energy storage capabilities in conjunction with the smart grid are expected to see a massive leap forward over the next 25 years.