Energy storage is a bit of a holy grail when it comes to wind production. While wind’s energy source is ostensibly free, it’s variable. The wind blows when it wants, and may not blow during peak times of consumption, or may blow when energy demand is low. So how does one store the wind energy produced but not used?
Renewable Energy World reports on an MIT fuel cell breakthrough that could help to answer this question:
The key component in Nocera and Kanan’s process is a new catalyst that produces oxygen gas from water; another catalyst produces valuable hydrogen gas. The new catalyst consists of cobalt metal, phosphate and an electrode, placed in water. When electricity — whether from a photovoltaic cell, a wind turbine or any other source — runs through the electrode, the cobalt and phosphate form a thin film on the electrode, and oxygen gas is produced.