The effect that fossil fuels are having on the climate emergency is driving an international push to use low-carbon sources of energy. At the moment, the best options for producing low-carbon energy on a large scale are wind and solar power.

But despite improvements over the last few years to both their performance and cost, a significant problem remains: the wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun doesn’t always shine.

A power grid that relies on these fluctuating sources struggles to constantly match supply and demand, and so renewable energy sometimes goes to waste because it’s not produced when needed.

One of the main solutions to this problem is large-scale electricity storage technologies. These work by accumulating electricity when supply exceeds demand, then releasing it when the opposite happens. However, one issue with this method is that it involves enormous quantities of electricity.

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