October 06, 2011 | By Bill Gates
We Need a Battery Miracle
I believe that creating large-scale batteries to store energy is a critical problem to solve if solar and wind energy are to become mainstream. In this video, MIT Professor Donald Sadoway and I discuss the importance of new battery storage technology and Sadoway’s focus on the development of a “liquid metal” battery.
To reduce the impact of climate change and meet the world’s energy demand, we need a reliable source of energy that’s cheap and emits no carbon. Many of the possibilities today involve intermittent energy sources such as wind and sun. The only way these can become primary sources of energy is if we develop inexpensive energy storage systems on a massive scale. Without this, renewable energy sources like wind turbines and solar cells will never approach the scale or affordability that is necessary.
Over the last 50 years, the technology associated with generating wind and solar power has advanced, but not the technology to store it. Hopefully, that’s changing. Professor Donald Sadoway, an MIT professor of materials chemistry, is leading research to develop an inexpensive “liquid metal” battery that will dramatically improve battery efficiency and provide large scale energy storage.
I first met Professor Sadoway after going to MIT’s OpenCourseWare website and watching video lectures of his courses. I subsequently had a chance to meet Professor Sadoway in person and am excited about the research he is doing. I believe so much in this technology that I’ve invested in the Liquid Metal Battery Corporation he is involved in, as well as a few other battery startups.