In this video interview, David Smeulders speaks about his search for technology solutions to efficiently store energy and release it again when required. These two related processes are key to improving the economic viability of many renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar.
“If we go deep down in the earth we find molecules – we find gas we find oil reserves – but we never find batteries. So nature has found a way to store energy but what we need to do is find a way to store electricity as well,” says the Dutch researcher.
Smeulders is part of a group at Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) investigating a number of innovations, including the idea of storing heat in mineral formations known as zeolites. He imagines a future where homeowners could capture ambient heat during the summer, before releasing it during the winter.
The interview also looks at the challenges of transferring research from the lab to the real-world. From the very beginning of research projects, his group at TUE work closely with applied research institutes and commercial companies, some of which are located on the same campus.
If you enjoy this interview, then take a look at our Sustainable Futures collection, which looks at some of the ways science is helping to tackle some of the big challenges of the 21st century.