Elon Musk is probably best known for his electronic car company Tesla and PayPal. Now, he promises to revolutionize the idea of energy with an optimized battery for everyday use in homes.
While renewable energy is clean and inexhaustible -with the exception of hydroelectric and geothermal – they have the tendency of not being constant. Solar energy isn’t constant, why? Because the sun does not shine at night, or at least we cannot collect its energy during the night… Wind energy has the same issue… even in windy Patagonia, there isn’t enough wind that can provide enough supply for 365 days a year.
This is how countries like Denmark, who obtain 40% of electricity by wind, are very close at reaching their maximum. The problem resides in the storage of the energy. Denmark has managed to “partially” resolve the issue in a original way… When the wind blows at night and factories and homes aren’t using power, it sends a part of the energy to Norway. There, the energy is used to raise water to a reservoir and thus take advantage another time when it becomes necessary, freeing water and making use of it through a turbine. But here, only a fraction of the power is usable, the rest is lost. So how can we store that energy and prevent it from being lost, how can we store energy on a large scale but that it remains practical at the same time?
This is a challenge that Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, SpaceX CEO, president and CEO of Solar City and Tesla Motors decided to approach. Musk already had extensive experience in battery technology, which are one of the key components of Tesla’s electric cars Tesla Roadster and Model S.
On April 30, he introduced the world to its PowerWall, a battery for home use capable of storing electricity cleanly and silently. Two models were introduced, the powerwall for residential use will come in two versions, one of 7kwh and over 10 kW, and will cost 3000 and 3500 dollars respectively. He also presented the Powerpack of 100kWh, designed to satisfy higher consumption, this version will be available for purchase in 2016. The powerful can be purchased on their website with delivery starting in July in the US and Germany and Australia by the end of the year.
Elon Musk at the presentation of Tesla Powerwall
The powerwall measures 120 cm x 90 cm x 15 cm and is designed to be placed on walls, both indoors and outdoors. “It is important not to have to dedicate an entire room as is done today with battery banks,” Musk said during the presentation.
Tesla delivers a 10 year warranty. Its efficiency is 92%, meaning that it returns 92% of the energy it receives, 8% is lost in heat. It is a very respectable number when you consider that the engine of a car loses more than 60% of the energy provided by gasoline. The batteries are based on lithium ion as those of Tesla cars and electronic devices.
It seems that we have a bright future ahead of us with Tesla making sure that clean and renewable energy is available for everyone.