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San Diego Researchers Push To Build Better Batteries

UC San Diego is joining the push to develop better batteries because advancements in the emerging industry could change the way people live their lives.

Photo by Katie Schoolov

UCSD researcher Shirley Meng talks about the future of batteries on Oct. 15, 2015.

UC San Diego is joining the push to develop better batteries because advancements in the emerging industry could change the way people live their lives.

Energy storage is a critical component of the emerging energy landscape. California regulators are requiring utilities to develop energy storage as a way to make renewable power more useful.

UCSD researcher Shirley Meng said even consumers are calling for better battery solutions.

"People who are driving electric cars, they have to fight for the plug because the driving range is still limited. So we're hoping when we improve the batteries that the driving range would be doubled," Meng said.

Researchers hope to double the capacity of lithium ion batteries while slashing the price of the technology at the same time.

UCSD is joining a public-private partnership called CalCharge. That group is pushing to develop the next generation of energy storage solutions because battery technology is poised to make a big evolutionary jump.

"Energy storage is the next big thing in the new electricity era that we're entering. This century we'll see a very different way of making and consuming electrons to run our lives and our businesses and everything that's electrified now," said CalCharge President Danny Kennedy.

Batteries have already propelled the computer revolution away from desktops and onto mobile computing devices like smart-phones, Kennedy said.

He predicted new developments will push the technology to improvements on larger scales like cars, buildings and even entire electric grids.

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Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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