Archive for March 12th, 2013

The annual Grainger Show in Orlando ends today. Nearly 15,000 customers and product and service providers attended educational sessions, stopped at the 600-plus supplier booths, and participated in major industry discussions, including those on the skilled labor pandemic. Read more

Credit: chensiyuan

Emerging markets in Asia and South America will be the key drivers of global GDP growth in the next 15 years, outlaying trillions of dollars in consumer and business spending. But U.S. manufacturers looking to take advantage of the massive opportunities in these markets will need to exercise innovative thinking and develop new competitive strategies. Read more


While they may seem to inhabit two different worlds, small businesses and major corporations are often entwined in symbiotic financial relationships. In fact, support from large companies may be the secret to reinvigorating and expanding the U.S. small business sector. Read more


Researchers at a U.S.-based security firm have traced the origins and design of Stuxnet, the first cyber weapon designed to shut down industrial facilities. Here we look at the true story behind Stuxnet, and what it means for the industrial security infrastructure. Read more


In After the Music Stopped, author and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Alan S. Blinder explores how one of the worst economic crises in American history happened and explains why the U.S. financial system may have grown too complex for its own good. Read more

A new study compares the energy required to build grid-level batteries with the long-term storage potential. Credit: digitalart at

Credit: digitalart at

The renewable energy industry has been working on storage technologies for years. As the percentage of renewable energy climbs in the U.S.’s energy generation mix, so too will the requirements for large-scale energy storage.

Utilities and microgeneration installations have found success with means such as compressed air energy storage (CAES) or pumped hydroelectric storage systems which pump water uphill and store it while energy is available, releasing the stored energy in the form of falling water when it isn’t. Some utilities have also had success using flywheels to store energy, and solar farms have experimented with storing energy in the form of heat in salty layered solar ponds.

Despite these options, however, energy storage in the world today is still largely about batteries, and there are many different types. Among secondary-cell batteries (the type you can recharge) are the lead-acid batteries you use in your camping lantern to the lithium-ion you use in your cell phone and tablet, plus less common types such as flow batteries or the nickel-cadmium batteries so prevalent in electric vehicles.

As anyone who pays attention to battery disposal guidelines knows, batteries aren’t exactly the greenest and cleanest technology in the world. So how does it make sense to use them to store clean renewable energy? Read more

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