I believe. I believe that soon, someone brilliant will solve the world’s most vexing technological problem. This person will discover the key to a new battery technology that will allow us to store energy cheaply and efficiently. It will be a battery small, light, cool, very efficient, cheaply made from abundant materials, quickly charged and capable of holding huge amounts of power for all our days, be they frigid or hot.
I believe, because that’s what I want. I want it, because for the lack of a silly battery our modern techno dreams are too slow in coming. I want an electric car that costs less than $30,000, has good trunk space and charges to its full 300-mile range in a half-hour coffee stop. I want a smart phone, free on a two-year-contract, light as a feather and thin as a nickel, on which I may play games and music simultaneously while emailing my broker and dealing new pithy quotes to my many Twitter followers, all the livelong day. I want a small solar panel on my roof that charges my compact in-home energy storage system to full power while I’m at work, so I can kick back and stream Netflix on my 60-inch LCD and then take a hot bath and not pay the electric utility a cent. If the prairies and canyons of the West must be covered with windmills, I would like them to useful for power production, not just as subsidy collection devices for rich people. While I’m dreaming, I would like to ride a Link Transit electric trolley with a breakthrough lithium battery that stores enough energy in 10 minutes to run the full downtown loop, do it again and again for months on end, saving us much money while treading on the environment with little cat feet.