Making the most of energy
Energy consumption is increasing at a staggering pace not just in the developed world but in the developing too. Each one of us owns a multitude of gadgets that use electricity, are always on and require constant recharging.
Cities, public services, manufacturing, transportation, agriculture, water and waste management all increasingly rely on electric power. And what we take for granted, others want to have too. While the technologies for energy harvesting and storage are over a century old, they are now getting increased attention and a lot of investment to improve performance and extend the range of applications.
Storing energy for later use is not only a must in view of the large scale integration of renewable sources such as wind or photovoltaics but it also helps optimize how and when we are able to use electric power.
There is a proliferation of technologies that are used to store energy. There is also an increasing number of innovative ways in which energy is now captured that would otherwise be lost. These innovations will make it easier to replace batteries for example in implanted devices or in remote locations. Trends and topics highlighted in this issue include supercapacitors, piezoelectrics, an overview of energy storage technologies and how energy is harvested in a multitude of environments making the most of our energy today and tomorrow.