July 15, 2022
4 Promising Technologies That Could Revolutionize Renewable Energy Storage
Energy storage is a critical piece of the energy puzzle, and as we work to develop new and innovative technologies, several exciting options are emerging.
Let’s look at some of the most promising technologies in development today.
About Renewable Energy Storage
Renewable energy storage is a process or technology used to store energy generated from renewable sources like solar or wind power. There are many different types of renewable energy storage systems, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some standard renewable energy storage options include:
- battery storage
- compressed air energy storage
- pumped hydro storage
Pumped hydro storage is one of the most commonly used methods of storing renewable energy. It works by using surplus electricity to pump water uphill into a reservoir. Then, when demand for electricity increases, the water is released downhill through turbines, generating electricity. Pumped hydro storage is flexible and can be quickly dispatched to meet fluctuating electricity demand.
Promising Energy Storing Technologies
#1 High Range Batteries
Batteries are a familiar sight in our daily lives, powering everything from mobile phones to laptops. Yet there is still massive scope for growth in their use. High-capacity batteries can store large amounts of sustainable energy, taking the world’s energy storage capacity to new levels.
This would be a major breakthrough in the fight against climate change, allowing us to rely less on fossil fuels and more on renewable energy sources. In addition, high-capacity batteries could also be used to store surplus energy from wind and solar power plants – making them an even more valuable tool in the battle against climate change.
With so much potential, it’s clear that batteries are set to play an even bigger role in our lives in the future. But as demand for these batteries has grown, so has demand for a key ingredient: cobalt.
Cobalt is a rare metal used in the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries. The problem is that most of the world’s cobalt is concentrated in just a few countries, and mining can be difficult and dangerous.
Fortunately, scientists are working on new technologies that could help to reduce our dependence on cobalt. Tesla is on the frontline, aiming to launch cobalt-free batteries in the next few years.
#2 Non-Flammable Batteries
The need for safer batteries is a growing concern for all industries, as well as sustainable energy storage. One area that may need improvement is the electrolyte, the medium that allows an electric charge to pass between the battery’s anode and cathode. Many electrolytes are made from flammable liquids, which can pose a safety risk if the battery is damaged or becomes overheated.
However, some research groups are working on developing safer electrolytes made from solid materials. These solid electrolytes could be used in a wide range of applications, from small electronics to electric vehicles.
While more research is needed, solid electrolytes have the potential to make batteries safer and more reliable.
#3 Pumped Hydro Energy Storage
Hydroelectric energy is produced by using the flow of water to spin a turbine, which in turn activates a generator and produces electricity.
Pumped hydro energy storage systems work by using this same process in reverse. Water is pumped from a lower reservoir to an upper one using surplus electricity.
When there is an electricity demand, the water is released back down through the turbine, activating the generator and producing power. Seawater can also be used in pumped hydro systems, although this typically requires more infrastructure and involves a higher risk of corrosion.
However, seawater has the advantage of having a much higher density than freshwater, meaning that it can store more energy per unit volume. As a result, seawater-based pumped hydro systems have the potential to provide large-scale energy storage, making them an attractive option for countries with extensive coastlines.
#4 Pumped Thermal Electricity
Pumped thermal electricity storage is a method of storing energy that can be used to generate electricity when needed. It involves using electricity generated from renewable sources to heat gravel or other heat-retaining material inside an insulated tank. This heat can then be used to generate electricity when needed.
The method has several advantages, including:
- Firstly, it uses easily accessible materials such as gravel, so it can be set up almost anywhere.
- Secondly, pumped thermal electricity storage has an expected efficiency range of between 50% and 70%.
- Finally, the method is scalable, so it can be adapted to meet the needs of different-sized businesses or households.
This means that pumped thermal electricity is a highly effective way of storing energy for use at a later time.
Environmental Impacts of Electricity Storage
When renewable energy sources like solar and wind are unavailable, storing electricity can help to ensure a continuous supply of power. Electricity storage can also be used to even out fluctuations in output from renewable energy sources, making them a more reliable and consistent source of power.
In addition, storing electricity can help generation facilities operate more efficiently by providing a buffer of power that can be drawn on during times of high demand. By using electricity storage to meet peak demand, less efficient and polluting generation units can be taken offline, resulting in lower emissions.
In this way, storing electricity can have indirect environmental benefits by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and helping to integrate more renewable energy into the grid.
With so many different energy storage technologies coming on stream – the future is looking bright for renewable energy.
Jared is an eco enthusiast and an advocate for green living. He writes on his own blog The Eco Friend and on many other sites as a guest author. His writing focuses on the ways people can make small changes in their lives to have a big impact on the environment. He also enjoys running and spending time outdoors with his wife and dog.