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Solar fuels versus batteries

On this page we question which one is better batteries or solar fuels.

We have now seen that we can store energy in either a solar fuel or battery. Which would be a better option for a sustainable future?

As Prof. Maria Forsyth suggests in the video the answer is not straight forward. The energy storage capability of batteries and fuels are;

Lithium-Ion Batteries – 0.2 kWh/kg

Liquid H2 fuel – 39 kWh/kg – (2.3 kWh/L)

Liquid Ammonia NH3 – 7.2 kWh/kg – (4.3 kWh/L)

So it appears that liquid H2 would be much better for storage that you could carry around in a car. However, splitting water produces H2 gas that takes up a lot of space and needs to be compressed to a liquid, which takes an energy cost.

Those are just a few of the considerations. We also have to think about the materials, we use to make the batteries, how much waste we generate, how much C02 we produce, how safe the process is and so on.

Conversation Starter

How do you think that we can use solar fuel and batteries to provide energy for the world in the way coal, gas or nuclear power plants do?

This article is from the free online

How to Survive on Earth: Energy Materials for a Sustainable Future

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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