4.1 The Need for Storage
Despite the continuing challenges with using electrochemical batteries for long-term, bulk, or large vehicular propulsion power, they are still favored in many applications. These applications can range from small vehicles to computer power, because of their inherent simplicity in configuration and because they provide direct output power in electrical form.
Immense attention and support has been expended on energy matters in recent decades, mostly with regard to its sources or production, i.e., wind, solar, methanol fuels, etc. Relatively little resources have been devoted to the storage of energy. In fact, a significant number of the problems with which we are faced could be resolved with more effective storage. Energy is frequently available to the user, but often not at the needed time or location.
Usually, until a technology shows imminent promise as practical, industrial and/or commercial products, they are not supported by commercial enterprises, which must realize a return on investment in the predictable future. A recent exception to this is the lithium-ion or polymer-based technology, which has found widespread use in portable devices such as computers, navigation equipment, cameras, etc., and use as auxiliary power for electric hybrid cars. Despite its limited life and rather high cost, it presents an opportunity for making some progress in areas in which other batteries cannot be applied.