Batteries store electrical charge and allow us to use electricity at a different time from when it is generated. This is why we think of batteries as energy storage. The original idea dates back to Alessandro Volta’s pile in 1799 at the very beginning of our adventure into electricity. More recently we have more and more compact batteries which can be recharged again and again. The developments in battery technology come from mobile phones and electronics such as laptop computers. When scaled up to a big size these new batteries can store sufficient charge to power an electric car on a long journey or power a house through the night or a cloudy day.

Batteries are at the cutting edge of climate change technologies because they allow us to use intermittent renewable electricity much better. We can use them to store energy from windy periods so that we have electricity on still days. We can use them to store solar power from sunny days to use in the evenings and at night.

Modern batteries are made of metals which can be difficult to find and refine and they can use a lot of electricity and produce a lot of carbon dioxide and other pollution in their manufacture. They are also difficult to recycle although this is beginning to improve. This means we need to be careful with them and make them last as long as possible and get as much use from them as possible. In that way we can get the best environmental benefit from them.

All batteries must be collected separately and recycled at the end of their useful life. They must not be thrown into the general rubbish or dumped in landfill.

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Rechargeable Batteries