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At Microsoft we know a thing or two about batteries. As a devices and services company, we know that batteries are what let our customers use our devices on the go, and we work hard to optimize our software to extend battery life as long as possible. That’s what makes for a better experience across Microsoft’s devices and services. And as the company’s team focused on environmental sustainability, we’re familiar with the potential for batteries to lay the framework for the next stage of renewable energy innovation.
Microsoft’s Stefan Weitz published a blog post today on Next at Microsoft looking at how “the lowly battery” has the potential to make our devices better and make our energy grids serve more people, including the nearly 1.5 billion people globally who lack access to reliable energy sources. There’s no shortage of promising innovations. New approaches to developing a “liquid battery,” which would have a much greater power density than traditional batteries, promise to store increasing amounts of energy in “bricks” as small as 16 square inches. The transition toward LED lighting, which can use as little as 20 percent the power of incandescent bulbs, has the potential to dramatically reduce the energy needed for lighting, which takes up 12 percent of all energy capacity in the U.S.
Renewable energy powers some of our campuses and some of our data centers—like our hydroelectric-powered data center in Quincy, Wash.—and it will continue to play an important role at Microsoft. As we look to invest in more renewable sources of energy as a result of our carbon fee and our commitment to carbon neutrality, we recognize that improvements in batteries will help accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, one innovation at a time.
Check out Stefan’s blog post to read more about his participation in a working session ahead of the G8 Summit on providing sustainable energy for all.