Source: Study: Batteries for wind and solar do ‘more harm than good’ for environment

This isn’t that hard to figure out. One of the greatest minds of the last two centuries tried to improve batteries, and failed. Edison was motivated and well backed in funds. Lack of effort, lack of devotion, lack of technical know-how were not contributing factors to his failure. The push to improve batteries has intensified every since. We’ve made slight gains, particularly in battery weight, but over all, batteries are still impractical as substitute for fuel.

From the article:

Burning natural gas for electricity will generally result in lower pollution and fewer CO2 emissions than trying to store green energy in batteries — largely because batteries waste a lot of power charging themselves.

Storing enough electricity in batteries to support wind and solar power also face enormous physical problems, which could make it economically impossible, according to another study published in June by chemists at Texas A&M.

It turns out that when electrons combine with the lithium ions in a battery, they distort the electronic structure of the device, essentially trapping unused energy in the battery, causing it to degrade rapidly. This means that it may be inherently impossible to store large amounts of electricity cost effectively in a battery.

“Fundamentally, when you have a battery, every time you use it, it starts to die a little bit,” Dr. Sarbajit Banerjee, a chemistry professor at Texas A&M…

Note the comments come from chemists, the folks who understand the inner workings of the batteries.

Side note: The article mentions green energy. There is no such thing as green energy. All energy comes with costs. Those costs ultimately deteriorate our environment at various steps along the way. Efficiency is the key, and when it comes to overall system efficiency, there is nothing worse that those damn bird-choppers.

Another side note, these facts of batteries apply to hybrid cars too. For a full life cycle of the vehicle, hybrids are less efficient than engine-only designs.