Climate change is moving much faster than we are. Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are higher than they have been for 800,000 years. Alarmingly, this year saw the first increase in CO2 emissions in three years. The past five years have been the hottest period on record. We are in a war for the very existence of life on our planet as we know it, but we have an important ally science and technology.
Secretary-General of the United Nations
Remarks at One Planet summit, December 12, 2017
A Herculean task these are the words Angela Merkel used for the German energy transition in her government statement on the nuclear phase-out and the increased feed-in of renewable energies for power generation in 2011. Concrete targets were set in the Renewable Energy Sources Act(German: Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (EEG)) of July 23, 2014. The share of energy generated from renewable sources in the overall electricity consumption is to be increased to at least 80% by 2050. For comparison: In 2015, the share of renewable energies was around 32%.
A key challenge of the transition towards renewable energies is the alternating power generation that comes with fluctuating energy sources (i.e., sun and wind). These fluctuations have to be balanced by energy storage systems. In the long term, next generation storage technologies are needed to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex energy supply.
To address this issue, we develop electrochemical energy storage systems without the use of undesirable raw materials, aggressive acids, rare earths, vanadium, cobalt, lead or other heavy metals. Instead, environmentally friendly alternatives from ceramics, plastics (polymers), glasses or carbons, which are available in Germany and Europe, are used.
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