This year the world is abuzz with the word 'batteries', as Tesla releases its wall-mounted storage device for the home and the global race for the 'super battery' becomes ever more heated.
In MENA, the adoption of battery technology will bring about profound changes as petrostates become solar-nations and homeowners become their own energy suppliers.
Powerful, high-tech batteries are increasingly being held up as the answer to the world’s energy problems.
Combined with solar panels or wind farms they can literally store the power of sunlight or wind for later, reducing the need for coal-fired electricity. In the transportation sector they can move cars for increasingly long distances thus reducing petrol emissions.
In North Africa and the Middle East they could have an enormous impact, replacing dirty and, in the long run, expensive diesel generators and making renewable energy more accessible in sun-drenched countries such as Egypt.
The potential of this market is huge. The global battery market by revenue is expected to quadruple from being worth $74 billion today to $400 billion in 2030, or a jump of 440 percent.
But Cleantech Arabia cofounder and battery researcher Ahmed Huzayyin told Wamda he doesn’t think any MENA state has the research capacity, yet, to join the race to build a better battery.
He sees innovation coming from entrepreneurs who understand how to make low-tech batteries work with high-tech supercapacitors, and adapt a low-cost product to the MENA market.
“We don’t think the market... has the capacity to innovate in this technology, but perhaps in integrating it.”
Modern batteries have been powering our lives for the last 156 years and scientists have been tinkering with them ever since. But only recently has an opportunity arisen for MENA entrepreneurs to adapt and integrate them into a visionary startup.