Renewable Energy and Energy Storage

It is clear by now that the supply of fossil energy is limited. Furthermore, returning large quantities of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere increases the amount of energy that it absorbs from the sun with consequences for the balance of our planet’s climate systems. There is a need to develop alternative sources of energy and to ensure that energy, irrespective of its source, is used as efficiently as possible, which then results in that energy having to be stored, delivered and converted into heat, light or motion with minimal losses. 

Materials research is at the heart of developments for modern energy systems. The ESRF offers the possibility of studying energy producing or energy storage systems, from photovoltaic panels, to fuel cells or rechargeable batteries or even hydrogen-storage materials. Some of the techniques that can be used are:

  • Diffraction and spectroscopy to reveal the composition, atomic structure and crystalline state of materials.
  • Imaging of materials to track defects and aggregates. 
  • In situ studies to follow materials like batteries under operating conditions or to watch the evolution of components.