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This week Science Magazine (subscription required) reported on the U.S. Department of Energy’s addition of a sixth climate model to the U.S. climate system modeling program, which will provide higher resolution models and can zoom into much smaller areas such as mountains or storms. This new modeling system evokes Microsoft Research’s ecosystem model that shows variations in ecosystems so we can better understand the planet’s changing biodiversity. Even though the DOE already uses climate models that offer similar information, the new climate model is expected to help quell questions and concerns over the effects of global warming on crops and water supplies. This increased degree of specificity would provide another way of testing proposed solutions before they hit the policymaking floor—and will help legislators develop policies that will ultimately have the greatest impact.
Elsewhere, GigaOm reported that startup SustainX has developed a new energy storage technology that will function similarly to a battery, garnering investments from the likes of GE, the Department of Energy and others. The storage system will use isothermal compressed air energy storage where the energy will then be compressed in large tanks and stored until it is ready to be used. Even more promising, this form of energy storage is presumed to be the most affordable. This form of storage has the potential to limit the intermittency of energy generation from solar and wind power, which could encourage more innovation in forms of low-carbon energy production and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. On top of that, SustainX has garnered investments from the likes of GE, the Department of Energy and others, showing that the future of renewable energy is tied to the future of energy storage.