Researchers propose information batteries to store sustainable energy

Industry Insights

If sustainable energy sources could serve the energy needs in the future, this would save the world from catastrophic climate change challenges and reduce energy bills. However, renewable energy is available intermittently – the sun provides no energy at night, while wind speed can end suddenly.

Furthermore, power grids need to have a balance between demand and supply against risks and blackouts. For such reasons, renewable energy is deposited during excess production, and at other times, power plants use fossil fuels to meet grid requirements.

Seeing the way things are going, according to estimations, in five years, the amount of renewable power drained in California each year will be equivalent to the amount of power consumed in LA each year.

Scientists worldwide consider better battery storage to solve the intermittency challenge by storing energy when the sun and wind are strong. However, currently used solutions, including lithium-ion batteries and pumped hydro are expensive and are challenging to be scaled up.

The thinking behind information batteries is this. The details of the new system proposed by a researcher duo is recently published in the ACM Energy Informatics Review. Broadly, the system involves storing surplus renewable energy as computation.

The basic idea behind information batteries is simple: In the event of availability of renewable energy in excess, it is used to speculatively carry out computations in large at energy-intensive data centers. These datacenters of Facebook and Google to Hollywood movie rendering consume 10 to 50 times that consumed by a typical commercial building, according to data of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The stored computed findings can be used later when green energy is available in less quantity.

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