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It’s easy as AABC

Fri, 02/14/2014 - 16:21 -- Editor

Britain is currently experiencing its worst floods for 60 years after the wettest January on record and naturally, being human, the hunt is on for scapegoats.

Politicians, of course, have been under fire for the country being under water.

Why hasn’t more money been spent on flood defences?

Why hasn’t more money been spent on dredging rivers?

Why hasn’t more money been spent on sandbags?

And so it goes on.

Deeper thinkers look to the bigger picture. This seems to happening more often, doesn’t it? Is this what the dreaded climate change looks like: warmer and very wet winters?

Having installed a climate change sceptic as a Secretary of State for the Environment, Prime Minister David Cameron – who only a few months reportedly described his own government’s energy policies as “green crap” – has put climate change is back on the agenda.

And when climate change is back on the agenda, people look to ways of preventing it with renewable energy and energy storage. As we know, finding a better way to store electrical energy is perhaps the single biggest breakthrough needed to tackle climate change to decarbonize the power and transport sectors.

For now, however, the industry is pretty much stuck with lithium batteries. And lithium is currently very expensive and too impractical for Mr & Mrs Smith to afford/desire an electric vehicle, which is a bit of a pisser for the polar bears.

The author visited Atlanta for the 14th Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC). If the EV industry hasn’t quite taken off as hoped, AABC remains a conference with clout on the cultural calendar, attracting C-level speakers and most of the right companies.

But it is noteworthy AABC will hold its first conference in Asia in May, in the Japanese city of Kyoto. The Japanese may have already won the lithium battery war, despite efforts from Germany and the US.

Toyota, Panasonic, NEDC et al are years ahead in both lithium batteries and EVs. Asia, perhaps more than ever, seems the natural place for an advanced automotive battery show.

It’s also pretty telling that AABC Europe in Mainz, Germany next January and AABC 2015 will both include “two to three sessions” concerning stationary battery applications.

This is a sign AABC is either running out of idea or delegates, or both. Attendees were down roughly 100 on 2013 at AABC 14. Is this merely due to being held in Atlanta rather than California or Florida?

Next year’s AABC will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which may well be picturesque but is not exactly a metropolis. BEST hopes AABC is not, unlike Britain, slowly drowning.

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