这是用户在 2024-4-17 13:01 为 https://www.wsj.com/business/energy-oil/battery-powered-stoves-dryers-water-heaters-24e49030?st=rem2... 保存的双语快照页面,由 沉浸式翻译 提供双语支持。了解如何保存?
  • Conversation
  • Journal Reports More Articles
  • Journal Reports List
  • What to Read Next
  • Most Popular News
  • Most Popular Opinion
  • Recommended Videos

Are Battery-Powered Home Appliances in Our Future?

Appliances with embedded batteries are designed to keep working when the power goes off. Some researchers believe they also could enhance the electrical grid.


Only a handful of battery-enabled home appliances have been developed, and some experts say their benefits are relatively limited for now because of their cost. Illustration: Pete Ryan

Imagine that your major home appliances run on batteries. Using regular cords that plug into standard 120-volt outlets, the appliances charge themselves when power is cheapest and store enough energy so that during a blackout, you can still cook, do laundry and keep your refrigerator going, while also recharging your smartphone and ensuring your Wi-Fi router never loses connectivity. 

That future isn’t here yet but it’s moving closer to reality, say some researchers, who believe that heavy appliances equipped with battery storage have the potential to become a key part of our everyday energy ecosystem.

These researchers say groups of appliances with storage-enabled batteries eventually could provide backup power to homes and help modulate demand on the electrical grid, allowing it to withstand ever-harsher weather events and prevent rolling blackouts. Such appliances, they say, also could help stave off grid upgrades by enabling homeowners to reduce their energy use during periods of peak demand, instead drawing power when it is least costly and most clean, and ultimately supporting the use of electricity in place of gas and oil to heat, cool, clean, cook and connect. 


“This future is definitely in view for many of us,” says Mario Bergés, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. “This is a technology that could provide us with an additional way of making the grid more robust, more amenable to integrating more renewables and to better deal with the shocks that we expect, like higher temperatures and storms.”

Smaller battery-powered appliances are on the market already, including kettles, blenders and microwaves, but they have limited storage capacity and are often used for camping or short-term usage.


What do you think about transitioning to battery-powered appliances? Join the conversation below.

By contrast, only a handful of heavy appliances with battery storage have been developed—and they are pricey. What’s more, most American homes aren’t set up to allow appliances to supply stored energy to each other or to the power grid. Still, some experts say such appliances eventually could become a viable alternative to the whole-house batteries that are starting to emerge alongside solar panels and electric vehicles.

“These appliances could be simpler to purchase for some consumers than installing a larger-scale battery like a 

 Powerwall and solar panels, and they’re currently an easier ask of consumers, since the battery is integrated at the factory and the appliance already serves another function,” says Jessika Trancik, a professor in the Institute for Data Systems and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That said, she doesn’t see a clear economic case for the appliances yet. “You may save a bit on electricity, but probably not enough to offset the costs,” she says.

Early entrants


Among the startups in the area is Channing Street Copper, which has received more than $3 million in funding from the Energy Department and private investors. The company has developed an induction range, called Charlie, which has four burners plus a convection oven, along with a brick-like lithium iron phosphate battery that can be charged from a standard 120-volt outlet. The stored energy in the battery allows the range to deliver a high-powered cooking experience without the need for a 240-volt outlet, and it can keep the range running so owners can cook and boil water when the power is out. The $5,999 range, which the company estimates will cost around $4,000 after tax credits and rebates, will start shipping this summer.

Another startup, Impulse Labs, offers a $5,499 battery-embedded induction stove (around $3,299 after tax credits and rebates) that can boil a liter of water in 40 seconds and allow the user to cook for a time during power outages. The company’s founders say the stove’s bidirectional inverter also could make the stove’s custom battery packs useful tools to power other home appliances.

Both companies expect their ranges to qualify for tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act because each has more than three kilowatt-hours of battery-storage capacity, enough to cook roughly two-to-four meals. But even without the tax credit, they likely would cost less than installing a whole-house battery like the Powerwall (which in some areas can cost more than $15,000 including installation but before any rebates or credits.) The ranges also might be cheaper than the cost of purchasing and installing a conventional induction stove—if doing so would require an upgrade to a home’s entire electrical panel to allow the flow of 200 amps into the residence, some experts say.

“For some customers, one big advantage of these devices is just enabling customers to enjoy the benefits of electric appliances without incurring significant costs to upgrade their panel,” which is the metal box containing a home’s circuit breakers, says Mark Dyson, managing director of the electricity program at RMI, a nonprofit focused on clean energy.


But the real cost savings to consumers would come from programming these devices to charge when energy is cheapest, says Dyson. He estimates that a network of energy-storage-equipped appliances—which also might include water heaters and clothes dryers, both of which require big, short bursts of energy—aggregated into virtual power plants could cut “between 10 and 20% off our country’s overall peak electricity demand during those hours when demand is at its highest,” such as on very hot days when air conditioners are cranking.

Challenges ahead

To be sure, a future of battery-powered appliances faces many hurdles, says Carnegie Mellon’s Bergés.

For one, he says, the value proposition of such pricey appliances might not be clear to average homeowners unless they are trying to live off the grid. He also believes these appliances need better software to allow them to talk to one another so they can efficiently coordinate their power usage. And that, he says, might require standardization in terms of appliance design and the types of commands to which they respond.


Brian Mayers, a partner at Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an investment firm founded by Bill Gates that seeks to finance companies working to eliminate greenhouse-gas emissions, says he likes battery-integrated appliances as a concept, but thinks their benefits are relatively limited for now because of their cost.

“I wouldn’t expect these types of appliances to scale broadly or universally, short of major regulatory or government incentives like we see with heat pumps or HVAC today,” he says.

There is also the question of whether placing lots of little batteries around a home will lower overall emissions, he says, since mining and making the batteries themselves can be an energy-intensive process. “If they are used to offset natural gas, or to firm up renewables, they could have a positive impact,” Mayers says. “If they end up just used as backup power, they will not have positive impact.”

Heidi Mitchell is a writer in Chicago and London. She can be reached at reports@wsj.com.


Copyright ©2024 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Inside the Complex Logistics of Shutting Down a Coal Plant

The Lawsuits That Could Shape the Future of AI and Copyright Law

Inside Poseidon, Russia’s Autonomous Nuclear Torpedo