I have been interested in energy and green energy solutions since I entered engineering school. My freshman year I did a project centered around wind turbines and last summer I worked for a nuclear energy company (I consider nuclear power to be a great alternative to fossil fuels even though it poses many unique problems). The difficulty with many forms of renewable energy, such as wind or solar, is that sunshine and wind are not continuous over small areas. So what is the solution? Well, a group working at MIT has generated an interesting new battery design that may allow for large scale energy storage from renewable resources. This project has been interesting to follow because it represents great scientific and entrepreneurial progress working together. The novel design is based around three liquid metals that create layers within this battery and generate positive and negative poles (that is where the materials science portion ties in). I would try to explain the science in detail, but I would rather let the inventor himself do it. Please take 15 minutes to watch Donald Sadoway give a great TED talk about his project Donald Sadoway: The missing link to renewable energy.
Here is one of many headline articles about the new batteries. Additionally, you can search “MIT Liquid Batteries” should you find yourself being more interested.
Feel free to comment and give your opinion on the design and overall project goal!