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Home » Donald Sadoway Presents at TED on the Missing Link To Renewable Energy (Transcript)

Donald Sadoway Presents at TED on the Missing Link To Renewable Energy (Transcript)

Full text of Donald Sadoway Talks on the Missing Link To Renewable Energy at TED

“Donald Sadoway is working on a battery miracle — an inexpensive, incredibly efficient, three-layered battery using “liquid metal.”” –

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The electricity powering the lights in this theater was generated just moments ago. Because the way things stand today, electricity demand must be in constant balance with electricity supply. If in the time that it took me to walk out here on this stage, some tens of megawatts of wind power stopped pouring into the grid, the difference would have to be made up from other generators immediately.

But coal plants, nuclear plants can’t respond fast enough. A giant battery could. With a giant battery, we’d be able to address the problem of intermittency that prevents wind and solar from contributing to the grid in the same way that coal, gas and nuclear do today.

You see, the battery is the key enabling device here. With it, we could draw electricity from the sun even when the sun doesn’t shine. And that changes everything. Because then renewables such as wind and solar come out from the wings, here to center stage. Today I want to tell you about such a device. It’s called the liquid metal battery. It’s a new form of energy storage that I invented at MIT along with a team of my students and post-docs.

Now the theme of this year’s TED Conference is Full Spectrum. The OED defines spectrum as “The entire range of wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, from the longest radio waves to the shortest gamma rays of which the range of visible light is only a small part.” So I’m not here today only to tell you how my team at MIT has drawn out of nature a solution to one of the world’s great problems. I want to go full spectrum and tell you how, in the process of developing this new technology, we’ve uncovered some surprising heterodoxies that can serve as lessons for innovation, ideas worth spreading.

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