Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy

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www.ted.com What's the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage -- so we can have power on tap even when the sun's not out and the wind's not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: "We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap."
TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the "Sixth Sense" wearable tech, and "Lost" producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at www.ted.com/translate
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Science & Technology

Published on


Mar 26, 2012




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jimstand 25 days ago
I have been following this video for more than 5 years now. It is a total of 8 years since this Ted talk. Where are the batteries? A press release and a fancy website does not count.
Aryaman A
Aryaman A Month ago
Oh boy, He teaches solid-state chem in mit ocw. Check: ruvid.net/video/video-kI7D2lkcF8E.html
M Stephens
M Stephens Month ago
2020 ambri.com
Howard C
Howard C Month ago
Reviewed many low CO2 emission motivated startup efforts in the last 10-20 years in battery, fission, and fusion. Pretty much all dead end with each eating $50M+ investment. In hindsight, the low CO2 mission statement is actually source of the problem. Repeatedly causing people to make wrong decisions instead of all the capitalism actions required to keep operation moving forward (like getting customers sooner rather than later). No-little sales results in limping on science grants and philanthropy before closing doors and stopping iterative refinement on technology. In reality, the biggest CO2 reduction technology has been Natural Gas. US source it cheaply and domestically through huge fracking expansion is the key US CO2 reduction driver. Japan needs to get it shipped in via liquid (LNG). Germany gets it from Russia vis pipelines (1 now, 2 soon) Biggest lesson learned : Low CO2 emission mission statement is okay as a starting point. But need to shed it quickly and avoid using it as a main argument to make decisions continuously. Otherwise, countless wrong economic decisions will be made and company will die.
You Me and Fun
You Me and Fun 2 months ago
What is the final battery composition??? Why he didn't tell it? Where's the company?
Ernesto Tamayo
Ernesto Tamayo 2 months ago
So how would we describe magnet cells or magnet batteries?
Russel Murray
Russel Murray 3 months ago
We will all be gone the solutions to out problems r not something people can do stop eating animals but no people r evil n kill everything the atmosphere the water all life is ruined by killing n eating animals burning coal and oil isn't as polluted as the animal industry it's responsible for major loss of ground water n deforestation batteries r so cute but u r missing the point there will be no life here in 10 years
jybuys 3 months ago
Blair Parkay
Blair Parkay 3 months ago
This is something that we would be interested in installing on our development sites if it has actually been launched to market
Grey Wolf
Grey Wolf 3 months ago
A battery? you don't see huge battery being towed behind ET now do you? and how can you reason with American guv liers?
Freddie Finkelstein
Freddie Finkelstein 3 months ago
Fantasyland is not just at Disneyland
MrVatican Rag
MrVatican Rag 3 months ago
As a comparison Indonesia's current 3.5GWe contract for the seven x 500MWe Liquid Thorium ion molten salt ThorCon "energy converters" have "As-built" foot prints of 1.1 Ha (65m x 175m) for each 500MWe unit. These will provide High temperature automatically load dependent output at near atmospheric pressure under extremely "walk-away safe" conditions at a capital levelised output cost of less than US$0.04/kWh as well as having the capability of doing a cold/black start. So with a 44kW/m2 footprint it is going to be hard to beat by any combination of renewables and battery banks providing 52x7x24 electricity... ruvid.net/video/video-qd_lBPbeVrQ.html
Lynda Schroeder
Lynda Schroeder 3 months ago
I say ask high school kids and college to find answer for our energy...new minds. We need to hurry. Ask anyone. Many men play in their garages. Also ask them. Lots of brains in places where inventors just do life. They need to be encouraged instead of expected to be highly educated.
Chris Enmarch
Chris Enmarch 3 months ago
Were not going to conserve ..drill or bomb our way out ! we're going to do it the old american way !! isnt slave trading illegal now ?
agnostic deity
agnostic deity 3 months ago
8 years later... Still no liquid metal battery. What's wrong with using excess energy to raise a weight so that you have stored potential energy?I have heard that we already pump water up to a tank so that it can be released through a dynamo at a later date.
idesofmarchUNIAEA 3 months ago
6:26 I like your concept of liquid salt, however I would use a thorium molten salt reactor to produce electricity. Only because that, there would be byproducts, that would be more valuable. Molybdenum 99 for cancer therapies and cancer research, xenon for interstellar space travel, excess heat for water desalinization, etc. your plan produces none of these byproducts. Build a model, too many moving parts, in concept to production. The field application is brilliant. However, for mass consumption, mass generation is workable. In my model you just have thorium reactors on a grid, the grid sends power to where it is necessary. In your model mining, manufacturing, and distribution of your batteries is too many moving parts. Military and government applications, need your battery.
Will Jones
Will Jones 3 months ago
Awesome! Puzzling to me why nuclear power isn't more widely used.
Russell K. Bonney
Russell K. Bonney 3 months ago
Ted. You are taking too long. So pump water up from underground cisterns during the day with solar power. Send it back down through hydro generators at night. Bye now!
Greg White
Greg White 3 months ago
A giant battery does not save intermittent sources, it destroys their economics. bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/
sovit bajracharya
sovit bajracharya 3 months ago
Those chalk boards took me back to old school days.
Moto Gucci
Moto Gucci 3 months ago
we should have let nikola tesla do his thing 100 years ago it would have been a different world today
Redrooster 3 months ago
The carbon and paper battery by Robert Murray Smith is the best I've come across so far it's non-toxic easy to make and is just all round the best check him out on youtube.
Thomas Levesque
Thomas Levesque 3 months ago
why haven't these batteries become mainstream? this talk was almost 8 years ago!
Pies Thighsnfries
Pies Thighsnfries 3 months ago
Hyundai ad mocking white people’s accent on here! Wow
Josh Dibble
Josh Dibble 3 months ago
Hey Jesus isn’t on the list... of periodic elements. So everything I know is not on this human table of elements. There’s more then this list!
mark stevenson
mark stevenson 3 months ago
You know when you look on youtube and the internet you will find a lot of amazing stuff like this. With all of the demand for such technology and our constantly increasing energy needs you would think they would find a way to use this technology and start mass producing an actual battery. The date of this video is march 26 2012 it is now november 2020. OK when are they going to get started already. You are constantly hearing about new technology like this everyday, why does it take sooooooo maaaaaany years for the technology to be applied to anything.
Coulouca Maurin
Coulouca Maurin 3 months ago
Did Alexander Volta invent the 25000 year old Bagdad batteries?
kanmacdre 3 months ago
There are several problems with solar energy: 1. It takes lots of energy and materials to produce, mount/erect and maintain a solar farm 2. It requires lots of land space for large scale capacity power generation 3. What do we do with the materials after the life expectancy of the panels have been realize? 4. The underlying impact on wildlife. 5. You will need LOTS of polluting batteries to store energy for re-use at peak time when the sun is down...
John Holeman Jr
John Holeman Jr 3 months ago
Steam was a dream, but recombining water by burning hydrogen and oxygen is what we need: free energy. Go make your profits somewhere else, @#%$)(*w$)^(%!
Jeff Miller
Jeff Miller 3 months ago
Well, it's now 2020. Where is it?
Robert Norris
Robert Norris 3 months ago
I see a man talking about Volta yet he is Voolta or his twin
HAL man
HAL man 4 months ago
lots of propaganda.....
Bert Boyd
Bert Boyd 4 months ago
What happened to your analysis and projections?
Ken Wells
Ken Wells 4 months ago
The Thanos Solution is the only way.
Philipverne jules
Philipverne jules 4 months ago
.......excited about his baby but I don't have the heart to tell him sodium sulphur fits his criteria much better..Antimony of all things is not so abundant..He does mention other metal combinations but sodium sulphur still sounding better. His battery needs the top molten metal to be lighter than molten salt and the bottom metal or element to be heavier of course. Positive terminal which is actually called cathode for batteries needs to be a metal or element for which it's ions easily migrate through the molten salt. Looks like it's fun to play with.
Bruce Becker
Bruce Becker 4 months ago
we can't bomb our way out ?
james dickson
james dickson 4 months ago
All bla bla bla ,we had free. electricity but the American goverment knocked down Testlas tower free power because the goverment couldn’t make any money out of it .as long as there is oil and gas we won’t get cheap power ,good luck fella I say your all talk if the goverments can’t make money out off it we won’t get it ,old jimmy
Tom Meyers
Tom Meyers 4 months ago
Someone do a TED talk on Obama's Portrait.
Tom Meyers
Tom Meyers 4 months ago
Al Green is the missing link
John Menzies
John Menzies 4 months ago
How interesting. No batteries are moved out of the lab. The 2012 energy issues were indeed resolved with drilling.......
Romy Garcia
Romy Garcia 4 months ago
Forget it ! China will just steal it. Never learn.
Krishna Raj Bastola
Krishna Raj Bastola 4 months ago
Sss Mmm
Sss Mmm 4 months ago
The battery was not invented 200 years ago
J R Deckard
J R Deckard 4 months ago
No battery yet..2020.
Relax Your Eyes
Relax Your Eyes 4 months ago
You know what happened. History is full of answers.
Allan Harrison
Allan Harrison 4 months ago
Like Thorium, like Fusion. Jam tomorrow.
The GenXican
The GenXican 4 months ago
In the News: The body Prof. Donald Sodoway was found today at the bottom of a river in W.Virginia today. His feet were in concrete blocks and a suicide note pinned to his lapel..Police concluded this was an Epstein style suicide..
Cuzilla47 4 months ago
8 years later, where are they now? It will be ready when...RSN (Real Soon Now?)
Faye Giesbrecht
Faye Giesbrecht 4 months ago
It shouldn’t cost us so much for energy to live. It belongs to all of us. We are being held hostage by those who control it. The earth belongs to all of us, not just a few wealthy.
Pratik Wankhade
Pratik Wankhade 4 months ago
Here is latest update 2020 - ruvid.net/video/video-KIBuKDDFvic.html
ELADIO CHAVEZ 4 months ago
Here is a 2019 video update ruvid.net/video/video-NiRrvxjrJ1U.html
Kevin Lynch
Kevin Lynch 4 months ago
where is it?
pip010 4 months ago
Nice for the grid-level storage! However there is the fundamental problem with renewables: they dont scale in size and price as in the case of his design (dirty cheap and container size) battery. Search fro energy-density. However, we can down scale atomic energy. The possibility to change output form atomic is something I cannot vouch fpr, but my understanding is that he is incorrect. Currently atomic is the buffer renewables require on a grid level, exactly because they reliably can respond to difference in demand.
W. P. Wolfe
W. P. Wolfe 4 months ago
This video is 8 years old. Where are the batteries??????
Thimaiah K.M.
Thimaiah K.M. 4 months ago
Almost 8 years. Is the audience still clapping!?
Daniel Schmider
Daniel Schmider 4 months ago
A professor creating a company is kind of like insider-trading, isnt it? Oh well, I guess it didnt work anyway
Cesar Molina
Cesar Molina 4 months ago
Whats the difference between this battery and a regular battery ? Not sure what the great invention is?
Jeff Logue
Jeff Logue 4 months ago
It took me 54 seconds to realize this man is a fool and hit the stop button, this is the garbage that you get from utube when you are on auto play
Jay Walker
Jay Walker 4 months ago
How much energy does it take to charge the container battery??? What could possibly be the downside to this battery resolution???
flagmichael 4 months ago
OMG! Somebody who understands the pivotal gap. However, batteries are the least desirable way of doing storage. Unlike systems like pumped storage, we pay by the watt-hour rather than by the watt.
David Davids
David Davids 4 months ago
it is not clear whether you understand that pumped-storage energy costs More to produce. the economy of the system derives from the ability to consume power to run the pumps, during 'off-peak'. then, sell power during peak demand. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity
FARMGADGETS 4 months ago
OK, now this video is almost 8 years old, and....... wait for it...Still no batteries!!! I think this guy is farting in the wind... What a clown.
Gruntol5 4 months ago
An electrochemical snake-oil salesman at work.
Brad Beatty
Brad Beatty 4 months ago
2MHh/200 homes = 10KWh per home. Average US consumption is over twice that.
Joe Taxpayer
Joe Taxpayer 4 months ago
8 years. In tech, a lifetime. Where's the update?
Thimaiah K.M.
Thimaiah K.M. 4 months ago
TED talks are for motivation and inspiration.
jason johnson
jason johnson 4 months ago
Bla bla bla this guy is a fool
Pepe Hernandez
Pepe Hernandez 4 months ago
I am in 2020. Interesting. Is there an update on the matter?
Alan C137
Alan C137 4 months ago
Jackie Hammond
Jackie Hammond 4 months ago
Updated please !
Jackie Hammond
Jackie Hammond 4 months ago
How many thing do we see that never come to pass !
Shifu -
Shifu - 4 months ago
Another "fantastic" idea. Just like Elon's fast trains in vacuum tunnels and electric tracks. Problems? Yeah, the science and the laws of nature:-) Now that we have abundance of that "theoretical" electricity we need only devices that will run on it. But these are another invention we currently working on........... Anybody want to invest in this future?
Foodways Distribution
Baghdad had a battery over 250BC, but hey some white dude invented the battery 200 years ago, heh www.smith.edu/hsc/museum/ancient_inventions/battery2.html
Mark House
Mark House 4 months ago
Electrical batteries is very old school. Today we are creating plasma capacitor batteries. No moving parts, scalable, room temperature and under normal atmospheric pressure. Results are very encouraging since by comparison whatsoever load is placed upon these battery/capacitors and their superconductive , semi-conductive properties lend to leading, even disruptive battery technologies that will eventually replace voltaics.
I.M Gurney
I.M Gurney 4 months ago
catch up here ;) ruvid.net/video/video-NiRrvxjrJ1U.html
Larry Kemp
Larry Kemp 4 months ago
What? You want more inventions? How about a new invention and a new life style? See www.habitran.20fr.com
John Hogan
John Hogan 4 months ago
First time I ever saw a watch worn on the outside of the sleeve😒
001ventura 4 months ago
Now thats a great professor 👍 and if the USA dont start making those baterys "dirt" cheap then China Will....👈
Crisanto Ibarra
Crisanto Ibarra 4 months ago
This video is almost 8 years old. Is this battery now commercialy produced? Even just in US?
Erlben Sales
Erlben Sales 4 months ago
Portable super laser, rail gun, ...
Dirk Knight
Dirk Knight 4 months ago
Storage is not missing any longer. Batteries are here.Just not his battery. :-)
Alexander Biersack
Alexander Biersack 4 months ago
People who don't do the math are bound to talk nonsense and he did not do the math how much energy we really need to store and what it would cost. Others have. With the facts we now know from Germany it would take 180 billion to provide enough storage to replace just 3 coal or nuclear power plants. But we don't need to replace 3 we need 3500 power plants to make the EU CO2-free and another 3500 to make the US CO2 free and a similar number to do that for China or other places. To make society CO2-free we will need to replace a lot that is done with oil and gas today by electricity, we will need a lot more electricity to do all heating and everything we can with electricity instead of fossil fuels. Not a little, a lot. So even if he brings the cost down to 1/10th of what it is today, it would still be 21 trillion for the US, 21 trillion for the EU etc. People who don't understand numbers and don't know what the difference between a billion and a trillion and ten trillion is may think so what, but this is not so what, no society can do it. It is simply not possible with the means we have today. But what we can do is replace coal by nuclear and the price for the electricity will be approximately the same, this is something we could to if CO2 matters. Stop listening to your heart and start listening to hard cold facts. Emotions are nice but in this case you will have to put them aside and be rational.
Dirk Knight
Dirk Knight 4 months ago
Sounds like a lot of farm animal manure. :-)
bluskies1000 4 months ago
Climate change is happening very slowly., If we survive that long it will be a problem eventually. Our best answer is technological & economical development.. Short of all out war GHG pollution cannot be stopped without advanced techniques. There is energy technologies that allow us collect solar power and beam it too the earth, There is fuel for pollution free, radio active free fusion power in large quantities on the Moon. There is means to scrub CO2 from the atmosphere but must be developed. The answer is to progress as fast as we can science/technology.
Dirk Knight
Dirk Knight 4 months ago
We could stop all GHG production with available technology almost immediately. It's just a matter of cost. No aliens with UFOs needed. :-)
james morton
james morton 4 months ago
Where is that big cheap battery?
Dirk Knight
Dirk Knight 4 months ago
The electric car in my garage has a battery that can power my house for about a week, I am just not using it that way. :-)
Alexander Biersack
Alexander Biersack 4 months ago
As usual with greens, it is just hot air, it is in never never land.
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