Energy Storage

 

The Alternet Systems management team has worked together for years in a variety of capacities separate from Alternet. Much of their experience together was in the military or working with the military. Their time in the military included working with a variety of electronic information and communications systems and combat systems. All of these systems required ruggedized and sustainable energy storage solutions. More recent experience that ultimately led up to the management team coming together to build the Alternet operation involved working with university research and development departments experimenting with various energy storage technologies - primarily graphene-based supercapacitors. Current graphene-based supercapacitors can now store almost as much energy as lithium-ion batteries, charge and discharge in seconds and maintain all this over tens of thousands of charging cycles. Nevertheless, we caught the Lithium-Ion fever and threw ourselves into building an in-vogue portfolio of Lithium technologies in partnership with a Fortune-500 company. Long story, very short, we re-learned that the race for solving the global energy storage shortage problem is not necessarily about using Lithium more efficiently or taping into a yet undiscovered new source of Lithium. Any limitation on the availability of Lithium is a separate issue and one convenient for commodity brokers that use a limited supply story, and an alleged demand to drive up Lithium commodity prices.

We’ve re-centered Alternet’s strategy on finding innovative solutions to energy storage shortages, and those innovative solutions do not necessarily need to come from Lithium-Ion based technology. We’re exploring a variety of energy storage research and development initiatives and much of the leading development is being conducted at universities. We’re looking to structure partnerships with the research and development organizations to commercialize their technology by building that technology into specific applications.

Graphene, as we mentioned above, has long been seen a subject of research for future energy needs. Other alternatives being researched include fuel cells, photosynthesis, solid state technologies, sodium-ion, solar, foam, aluminum graphite, and sand. Most of these are safer and more abundant than Lithium.

Lithium is arguably central to the most currently viable energy storage solutions, but it is far from being the long-term best solution. Better materials in more abundant supply exist and just need to catch up to the research and development head start that Lithium, for the time being, enjoys.