2seaoat would be interested in this segment on Sunday Morning.
Batteries, as we think of them, were invented over 2,000 years ago near Baghdad. A "modern" version about 200 years ago. An alkaline cell around 1900. Since then relatively little advancement has been made.
The only progress is extremely expensive and short lived. This is especially true about solar fields and wind turbines.
The story is about engineers thinking outside the box to use an old cliche. But, they are with great advances. Remember, the problem is the storage of energy.
One is for use with commercial air conditioners. The system is designed with a very large insulated container of water and numerous cooling coils. Filled with water, at night, when energy is plentiful the ac system freezes the water in the container at night when there is excess energy available. During the day, the cooling coils are not "cooling" in the hot air of summer but rather in ice and freezing water. The savings are astronomical.
I personally know that this is very effective. A few years ago I listed a 5,000 sq.ft. house which was extremely efficient. There are two water cooled ac systems. The systems used had deep holes drilled next to the systems down to below our low water level. A long copper loop is then inserted in that hole. Instead of cooling coils in the air at 100 degrees or so, the coolant circulates down to our aquifer where the water temperature is about 60 degrees.
Each unit was very expensive, about five times the cost of a typical unit. A typical Tallahassee utility bill would be in the $700-$1,000 per month. Perhaps more in the dog days. He showed me bills from the past year with none above $159.00 per month.
The other system consists of flywheels. A bit like the flywheel between and engine and a transmission.
Except these are huge flywheels with the prototypes weighing about 5,000 pounds. They are precision milled and balanced. They spin like a top in an enclosed vacuum chamber so there is no resistance from air. There is a jumbo magnet at the top of the flywheel. That magnet lifts the flywheel so that only a small amount of weight is distributed on the precision bearings under the wheel. During the night, this huge flywheel is driven up to 7-8,000 rpms. At that speed and weight, each unit can provide the same energy it stored for at least four hours.
See Seaoat, I do pay attention to energy.