Batteries 2019 — The Future of Energy Storage – Professor Yet-Ming Chiang, MIT



What have been the key battery technology breakthroughs to get us to where we are now? What are some new opportunities for large-scale energy storage & what’s MIT doing? What are some key lessons for startups to be successful in the battery industry?




Energy storage will play an increasingly important role in a decarbonized world. From electric vehicles to grid resiliency, batteries will impact the ultimate success of numerous industries that are critical to a low carbon society. Professor Yet-Ming Chiang, one of the world’s most prominent researchers in energy storage, will give a personal perspective on some of the challenges and opportunities for better and cheaper energy storage.

From a historical perspective, battery performance has improved steadily, but now the divergent needs for batteries in high energy density applications such as EVs (and, coming soon, electric aviation), and those for grid storage, which emphasizes ultra-low cost and earth-abundant materials, are becoming clear. He will give examples of emerging innovations that may address these different needs, including solid-state and other batteries that use alkali metal electrodes, and approaches that make use of the most widely available electroactive elements. The expectation is that the audience will come away with a realistic but exciting roadmap of possible areas of innovation for energy storage.

Finally, he will conclude with his personal experiences in building battery enterprises. Battery technologies are notoriously difficult to scale given high technology risk and high development costs. Yet-Ming will share some of the unique lessons learned at startups he has co-founded, including A123, 24M, and most recently Form Energy.

Prof. Chiang’s research focuses on the design, synthesis, and characterization of advanced inorganic materials and related devices. Current topics include new cathode and anode materials for lithium ion batteries, phase transformations in electroactive materials, electrochemical device design, electrochemical-to-mechanical energy conversion, self-assembling colloids, and the stability and defect chemical properties of interfaces in inorganic materials.



Professor Yet-Ming Chiang, a materials scientist and engineer at MIT, is indeed a leading figure in the field of energy storage and batteries. His research focuses on developing advanced materials and technologies for improving the performance, efficiency, and sustainability of energy storage systems. While his work primarily pertains to energy storage, it indirectly impacts various industries and sectors, including the future of music, in several ways:

1. **Portable Devices and Wearables**: As energy storage technology advances, batteries become smaller, lighter, and more powerful. This progress has implications for portable music devices such as smartphones, music players, and wearable technology. Improved batteries enable longer playback times, enhanced performance, and greater convenience for music listeners on the go.

2. **Electric Vehicles (EVs)**: Chiang’s research contributes to the development of battery technologies for electric vehicles. As the automotive industry transitions toward electric propulsion, more efficient and cost-effective batteries are essential. This shift reduces reliance on fossil fuels, mitigates environmental impacts, and creates opportunities for integrating music and entertainment systems into EVs.

3. **Sustainable Energy Solutions**: Energy storage plays a critical role in renewable energy systems such as solar and wind power. Chiang’s work on battery technology enables the efficient storage and utilization of renewable energy, facilitating the transition to a more sustainable energy landscape. This transition supports the music industry’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and adopt environmentally friendly practices.

4. **Performance and Accessibility**: Advances in energy storage technology enable innovations in live music performance and production. Portable battery-powered equipment, such as amplifiers, speakers, and recording devices, empower musicians to perform and create music in diverse environments, from outdoor venues to remote locations. Additionally, improved battery life and reliability enhance the accessibility of music technology for artists and enthusiasts worldwide.

In summary, Professor Yet-Ming Chiang’s research on energy storage and batteries contributes to advancements that have far-reaching implications for the future of music. By enabling more efficient, sustainable, and accessible energy solutions, his work enhances the functionality, performance, and accessibility of music technology for artists, listeners, and industry professionals alike.

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