Hybrid Energy Storage Systems Get the Best of Both Worlds

Hybrid Energy Storage Systems Get the Best of Both Worlds

But calculating the true costs and benefits of energy storage is still difficult math.

Many years ago, I was part of a U.S. Air Force program with the goal of reducing the battery weight carried by airmen and soldiers by 25 percent. The Air Force Program Office, after scouring the market for the ideal battery solution, quickly learned that no rechargeable battery could meet the power density, energy density, lifetime, and size/weight requirements.

However, they did not abandon the project — they took a hybrid approach to the problem.

Batteries are typically designed for high-power applications (i.e., “sprinter” mode that provides lots of power in short bursts) or energy-dense applications (i.e., “marathon” mode that provides consistent lower power over long durations), and there are lifetime, performance, and cost penalties for using them in unintended ways.

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