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If batteries are the holy grail of alternative energy systems, then this modest lab in South Africa is a high church.

Powerland: Pretoria's new battery power
August 26, 2011 - 2:53pm

PRETORIA, South Africa — Scientists at the Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) are among the leading innovators of the lithium ion technology found in cellphones, laptops and even hybrid cars. 

The global demand for batteries is over $70 billion dollars, and growing every year.

This modest research center, which is the country’s national lab, has led the world the world in creating systems that harness clean energy and use it in the most economical ways possible.

The CSIR's patents appear in many brand name electronic devices that use lithium ion batteries. Today the center is focusing its efforts on the electricity needs of this developing country by again pushing the boundaries of science.

They are attempting to make batteries that store more power, charge quicker, cost less and are more recyclable than the ones we use today.

Batteries are the holy grail of alternative energy systems.

The ability to store and output energy is the key to making mini grid systems, solar energy packs and even major electrical grid systems work more efficiently. Batteries are also one of the biggest expenses for these solutions.

By building on the technology, the center helped innovate for big-name companies like Sony. 

If the world is headed toward an alternative-energy future, the CSIR might just come up with the battery that will help get us there. 

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