It is comforting to know that there are minds at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinking up ways to commercialize many new renewable energy technological developments for the solar, hydrogen, and energy storage.
The 2010 MIT Energy Conference was an open house to all of the research projects being conducted by both faculty and students of the institute. The main goal of the research according to MIT Energy Initiative director, Ernest Moniz, is to work with the renewable energy and power industries to commercialize groundbreaking technologies. He noted that their energy technology ideas cannot be commercialized in a garage like you can with Internet Technology (IT).
Exactly 20% of the MIT faculty is involved in some form of energy research. Energy is a big business at MIT. The 2010 MIT Energy Conference was not just some science fair. MIT has been very involved in the energy sector having already formed companies in the industry. The most notable of which is 1366 Technologies.
MIT is also home to one of the 40 nationwide Energy Frontier Research Centers that are solely funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through stimulus funds.
Of their many research projects, developing storage technologies may be one of the most important to the industry. Large scale or utility scale energy storage systems must be commercialized in order to ensure national energy security. Only 2.5% of the American energy grid capacity can be stored compared to 10% in Europe and 15% in Japan. This could be a foreshadowing of further energy troubles for the U.S. if the proper technology is not developed. Energy storage is vital for incorporating solar and wind energy into the grid which are renewable but intermittent energy sources.
The 2010 MIT Energy Conference is a bright spot in the timeline toward our energy independence and security. We can also be sure that there are other academic institutions, companies and organizations that are putting forth the same level of effort in bringing the best possible ideas on energy to fruition.