Increased focus on renewable energy is demanding energy storage technologies.
Energy storage technologies in recent years have garnered a lot of interest as meeting the solar and wind energy demand has become essential to produce electricity 24/7. Energy storage systems coupled with advanced power electric technologies have the potential to minimize the power grid harmonic distortion rate and eradicate the influence of voltage drop and surge current. There has been a heightened growth in a wide range of storage technologies so that the grid can meet everyday energy requirements.
Since the energy storage industry has continued evolving, adapting, and innovating against surging energy demands, there are several technologies that promise to outcompete lithium-ion. These energy storage systems can enable nuclear power plants to trail electricity demand throughout the day and reduce cycling costs.
Here are some storage technologies providing numerous considerable benefits, including improved stability of power quality, reliability of power supply, and more.
Hydrogen Energy Storage
Renewable energy sources are witnessing a period of rapid growth in recent years. This development trend is significantly being driven by the likes of hydrogen energy storage. This storage technology typically refers to another form of chemical energy storage in which electrical power is converted into hydrogen. Larger-scale hydrogen storage systems often require underground storage which limits locations for deployment. This storage system is of great interest because the gas forms the basis for the hydrogen economy where it replaces fossil fuel in many combustion applications.
Beyond the lab, hydrogen energy storage has proven its capability through real-world projects. For instance, in 2018 Enbridge Gas Distribution and FCHEA member Hydrogenics opened North America’s first multi-megawatt power-to-gas facility using renewably-sourced hydrogen. The facility, 2.5 MW Markham Energy Storage Facility in Ontario, Canada, is currently providing grid regulation services under contract to the Independent Electricity System Operator of Ontario.
This is a type of hydroelectric energy storage providing energy storage capacity and transmission grid ancillary benefits. It also provides services from reactive power support to frequency control, synchronous or virtual inertia and black-start capabilities. Pumped Hydropower energy storage brings support to power plants that were previously managed by fossil fuels. A pumped-storage plant functions much like a traditional hydroelectric station, but it doesn’t use the same water over and over again, which makes very low operating costs. Typically, pumped hydro storage plants store energy using a system of two interconnected reservoirs with one at a higher elevation than the other.
There are several pumped storage hydroelectric projects have been providing energy storage capacity over the years in the U.S. and Europe. As of 2017, 43 pumped-storage projects operating in the United States provide around 23 GW, or nearly 2 percent, of the capacity of the electrical supply system, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Thermal Energy Storage
This energy storage system uses standard cooling equipment, along with an energy storage tank to switch all or a portion of a building’s cooling needs to off-peak, nighttime hours. This means it allows people to temporarily reserve energy produced in the form of heat or cold for use at a different time. Recently, the cool thermal energy storage system has lured increasing interest across industrial refrigeration applications, such as process cooling, food preservation, and building air-conditioning systems. The technology appears to be one of the most apt methods for amending the incongruity that occurs between the supply and demand of energy.
Well-designed thermal energy storage can store energy effectively throughout the day, fulfilling the needs of energy when required. This energy storage technology can also lessen peak demand, energy consumption, emissions and costs while snowballing overall system efficiency. Particularly, it is becoming vital for electricity storage in combination with concentrating solar power, whereby solar heat can be stored for electricity production when sunlight is not available.