batteries pixabay

L’État moteur de la révolution verte

LONDRES – Les discussions autour d’un avenir plus écologique ont tendance à se focaliser sur la nécessité d’améliorer la production d’énergie à partir de sources renouvelables. Or, il ne s’agit là que d’une première étape. L’élaboration de meilleurs mécanismes de stockage et de distribution des énergies – lorsque les nuages éclipsent les rayons du soleil, lorsque le vent ne souffle pas, ou lorsque les voitures électriques circulent – est également cruciale. Et contrairement à la croyance populaire, c’est bien le secteur public qui œuvre en première ligne des solutions les plus efficaces.

Depuis le développement commercial des batteries lithium-ion au début des années 1990 – batteries rechargeables que l’on trouve communément dans les produits électroniques de grande consommation – le défi consistant à stocker efficacement et à délivrer suffisamment d’énergie pour faire des sources énergétiques durables une alternative viable aux combustibles fossiles se révèle délicat. Les efforts fournis par plusieurs entrepreneurs milliardaires tels que Bill Gates et Elon Musk afin de surmonter ce défi suscitent une spéculation médiatique effervescente. Ainsi, combien faut-il de milliardaires pour changer une batterie ?

La réponse est en réalité zéro. Cette semaine, Ellen Williams, directrice en charge du dossier énergétique de l’Agence des projets de recherche avancée (ARPA-E), branche du Département américain de l’Énergie, a annoncé que son agence avait surpassé les milliardaires sur cette voie. Ellen Williams a en effet déclaré que l’ARPA-E avait découvert « plusieurs saints graals en matière de batteries », qui devraient permettre à l’agence de « créer une approche totalement nouvelle à l’égard des technologies de batteries, permettre à ces technologies de fonctionner, et les rendre commercialement viables ».

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