Hang around the energy storage crowd long enough, and you’ll hear chatter about ultracapacitors. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has said he believes capacitors will even “supercede” batteries. What is it that makes ultracapacitors such a promising technology? And where do they fall short?
Would brand-new reactors have fared better in the power outage that triggered dangerous overheating at one of Japan’s oldest power plants? Not necessarily. The vast majority of plants under construction around the world are the same 1970s vintage as Fukushima Daiichi, and without integrated passive safety systems.