While Donald Trump was bragging at the debate about how his hateful immigration policies would drive away innovators and entrepreneurs, the White House was celebrating a huge scientific breakthrough that will revolutionize the way we store and transfer energy in our nation.
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (Arpa-E) just unlocked a major development in the next generation of battery technology. “I think we have reached some holy grails in batteries – just in the sense of demonstrating that we can create a totally new approach to battery technology, make it work, make it commercially viable, and get it out there to let it do its thing” said Director Ellen Williams.
It’s a moment of sweet vindication for President Obama, who founded ARPA-E as part of the recession recovery effort to fund “moonshot” projects that were considered too risky for normal investors to touch. They’ve achieved a major development in just seven years of research, beating out tech giants Bill Gates and Elon Musk in the search for the next generation of batteries.
“Battery technology is now about to do the same thing to the energy industry that it did to the telecommunications industry” says Susan Kennedy, CEO of Advanced Microgrid Solutions. The development of “micro grid” energy storage has the potential to transform the way our power infrastructure works. “If you think about it, the entire grid from the ground up was designed around the concept that energy cannot be stored. And so the whole grid is going to change dramatically because of one thing: battery storage” says Kennedy.
These advances are going to kick-start the next technological revolution, creating hyper-efficient, affordable and environmentally sustainable sources of power, spurring new investments into electric vehicles and other green projects that humanity is going to need if we are to slow climate change enough to preserve human civilization as we know it.
ARPA-E is also working on a myriad of other projects, from using robots to breed better biofuels, and developing cooling systems that don’t rely on water for dry conditions. President Obama’s foresight and dedication to science will find no praise from his Republican detractors, but the importance of keeping our nation at forefront of technological development and the green revolution cannot be understated.