Lithium-Ion is becoming “the new silicon,” as energy storage follows the path of radical cost reductions that spurred the explosive rise of solar technology over the last 15 years, writes Andrew Beebe, managing director of Obvious Ventures, in a post on Greentech Grid.
“If energy storage is the new solar, lithium-ion is the new crystalline silicon,” Beebe writes, suggesting that competing chemistries “are likely to fail to become a winning solution.”
Already, “lithium-ion and its derivatives are simply too large in scale at this point, with too many uses across too many industries to be disrupted,” he states. “Just as with our $1-per-watt-peak goal in solar, we will find that we can quickly approach the magic $100-per-kilowatt-hour target in storage (the price at which mass adoption becomes economic).”
While the silicon revolution went through “solar-coaster headlines” and “tons of carnage” before more stable technologies and companies began to emerge, Beebe says there’s time for storage to “learn from these misdirected efforts” and avoid a similar fate. “A more productive space to investigate and invest in, as was the case with solar, will be the business engineering, rather than the chemical engineering, of storage.” He cites a couple of companies that “are chemistry-agnostic, and will thrive based on all cost reductions, not on any specific winning hardware.”