Batt to the Future: A Brave New World of Battery Technology
They’re nothing like the batteries from your childhood, and they’re getting ready to power airplanes.
Fossil fuels aren’t keeping the lights on at night on the island of Kauai – it’s a Tesla-built power plant that uses batteries charged by solar energy. Farmers in Europe are looking to John Deere to deliver fully electric battery-powered tractors capable of delivering 400 horsepower – ample mechanical muscle for any agricultural application.
Boeing and JetBlue are funding an electric airplane startup called Zunum Aero, which plans to have its first prototype ready by 2019. And our team at Triple E is already providing innovative battery-powered construction equipment that is revolutionizing the industry.
Batteries are everywhere today, and technological advances coupled with our need to wean ourselves from fossil fuels are the reason. They’ve transformed what used to just go in flashlights and children’s toys into a power source for practically everything.
Renewable power is growing; its usage increased by almost 12% last year the United States, and it’s a global movement. The biggest obstacle has always been energy storage. Batteries just weren’t efficient enough, and it was more economical to make them disposable instead of rechargeable.
Unlimited energy sources like the sun require highly efficient storage to make them economically feasible. It took an entrepreneurial startup company like Tesla to show there’s money to be made in optimal battery storage solutions. Tesla introduced battery technology that gives its all-electric cars a range up to 3 times greater than its early competitors.
The demand for these battery-powered electric cars recently allowed Tesla to surpass both Ford Motor Company and General Motors in Market value. But Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn’t the only one applying innovation to the battery and seeing success.
Companies like Aquacell, NoPoPo (No Pollution Power), Furukawa Battery, and Magnevolt are creating batteries that use water to generate power. Another company called Ambri uses minerals found in a scoopful of dirt and an inexpensive manufacturing process to create a liquid that efficiently holds and transfers power just like a battery. And these are just the beginning of battery developments that are in the research and/or development stage.
The race is on, and we’re all winners
The more ways we find to store energy, the faster we can move away from our fossil fuel dependency. And we’re already seeing an accelerating change. Investments in oil and gas declined by 25% in 2015, while at the same time, funding for renewable energy sources increased by 30%.
This swing wouldn’t have occurred unless there was proof that battery storage has the potential to keep up with the energy generated, and that consumers are open to the change. They’re making their preference loud and clear, with the financial success of companies like Tesla serving as validation.
Tesla proved that we can drive an electric car that runs on a battery, and the experience is little different than if an internal combustion engine powered it. The innovation is being pushed out to other industries, and construction is ripe for this battery-powered transformation.
Construction equipment has a huge appetite for fuel, and it’s been necessary for the motors to develop the horsepower needed to do their job. Now, technology has helped batteries store and deliver the same level of energy. It has created opportunities for forward-thinking companies to develop and offer electric construction and agricultural equipment just as rugged and powerful as those still gulping up fuel.
In addition, battery-powered construction equipment has benefits beyond being environmentally friendly and cost-effective – it’s perfect for indoor applications.
Environmentally profitable, safer, and indoor
Yes, there’s money to be made. The demand for our battery-powered construction equipment is growing. But the payoff for those of us who have decided to focus on machinery that runs on renewable energy isn’t only what it does to our bottom line. We’re doing it for additional reasons that are just as valuable and important. Our construction equipment is safer for people to use. The motors are quieter, and there’s no exhaust to pose health threats.
Electric motors always had the ability to go head to head with fuel-powered engines, but a permanent attachment to a power cord always limited mobility and practicality. The playing field has been leveled now that technology has transformed and increased battery storage capacity and delivery.
The next generation of batteries will pave the way for a safer, cleaner and more ecologically responsible generation of cars, tractors, airplanes, and construction equipment. They all may use different battery technology, but the one common trait they’ll share is no direct need for fossil fuel to make them go.
For more detail on our battery-powered mini skid steers and wheelbarrows, or the technology we use to make them run, explore our website. And please contact us at 954.978.3440 or through our online form with any questions.