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Archive for the category “storage”

The Netherlands is Placing its Bets on the Hydrogen Economy

Natural gas power plant Eemshaven. One of the blocks is retrofitted for hydrogen.

The Netherlands are “plat als een dubbeltje” (flat as a dime) and as such pumped hydro storage solutions are virtually impossible. The people behind the recent Climate Accord, that is from the industry to environmentalist groups, see hydrogen as the key of the energy transition. Current annual hydrogen production (from natural gas) is 800,000 ton, mostly for agriculture and refineries. The goal is “green hydrogen”, produced from solar and wind, without CO2 as a byproduct. Hydrogen is needed for several purposes: as storage and for certain aspects of industrial society that can’t be covered with electricity alone. Batteries alone are no solution. For the storage of 2000 kWh you would need 3 sea containers per household at the cost of 40,000 euro/year. You can store the same 2000 kWh worth of energy in a hydrogen container of merely 1 m3. And yes, there are considerable conversion losses from electricity –> H2 –> electricity, but hydrogen can be exported via existing but retrofitted natural gas networks, where building new cables would be 100-200 times more expensive.

Dutch industry is already busy with laying the foundations of a hydrogen economy. In the northern Groningen province, GasUnie is developing a small factory where solar electricity is converted in hydrogen (“power-to-gas”). The best location for large scale hydrogen factories is probably at sea, near the wind parks. Fortunately there is an enormous pipeline infrastructure in the North Sea, a left over of the gas and oil age, that can be reused for hydrogen. Large scale hydrogen production won’t happen before 2030, simply because there is yet not enough wind power generated that can’t be used immediately. 3,000 turbines are seen as a critical number from where storage would become necessary.

Currently Holland is competing with post-Fukushima Japan to be the owner of the first hydrogen economy.

[] – Ineens lijkt waterstof het antwoord op alle energieproblemen

[deepresource] – Nederlandse Regering Presenteert Klimaatakkoord
[deepresource] – First Climate Neutral Power Station in The Netherlands
[deepresource] – Prof. Ad van Wijk (#1 Dutch hydrogen guru)
[] – The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands (English pdf, 51p)
[] – A Roadmap for The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands

The report contains significant financial analysis on how green hydrogen can be produced at industrial scale, either from biomass gasification or water electrolysis, at a cost of EUR 2.20 to 2.30 per kg.


Norwegian Battery Breakthrough


Researchers at Norway’s Department of Energy Technology (IFE) in Kjeller say they have perfected a way to substitute silicon for the graphite commonly used in the anodes of lithium ion batteries.

silicon battery technology NorwayThe discovery will lead to batteries that can power an electric car for 600 miles or more, the researchers claim… The researchers have found a way to mix silicon with other elements to create an anode that is stable and long lasting and which has three to five times higher capacity than a conventional graphite anode.

[] – Researchers In Norway Claim Lithium Ion Battery Breakthrough

Switzerland – The Alpine Battery

Swiss hydro power generates 60% of the countries electricity.

[] – Electricity sector in Switzerland

More General Electric renewable energy drone videos:

Read more…

Pumped Hydro Storage Proposal for Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness

400 MW, 2.4 GWh pumped hydro storage plant proposed for Loch Ness by ILI Energy, enough to power 400,000 households for 6 hours. Scotland has 2.4 million households and in 2017 69% of its electricity generating capacity was renewable, mostly wind. By 2020 this share is expected to be increased to the full 100%.

[] – Major hydro project proposed for Loch Ness
[] – Scotland’s next Loch Ness monster could power 400,000 homes
[] – Loch Ness soll als Energiespeicher dienen

Ecovat Seasonal Heat Storage

Storage temperatures up to 93 degrees Celsius and more than 90% storage energy efficiency over 6 months. Scale: 200-1000 houses.

[] – Ecovat company site
[] – Ecovat Smart Thermal Energy Storage
[] – Production line impressions

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High Efficiency Electricity Storage With Antiferroelectrics


Here we report our first-principles-based theoretical predictions that Bi1−xRxFeO3 systems (R being a lanthanide, Nd in this work) can potentially allow high energy densities (100–150 J cm−3 [*]) and efficiencies (80–88%)

[*] That would be 1 kWh/24 liter.

[] – Antiferroelectrics for storing energy from renewable sources
[] – First step toward creating efficient electrolyte-free batteries
[] – Designing lead-free antiferroelectrics for energy storage
[] – Antiferroelectricity


Dutch-British project involving storing/retrieving electricity by lifting/sinking large weights in a mine shaft (59,000 of those in the UK alone). Claim made by startup “Gravitricity”: power up to 20 MW per installation, life span ±50 year and a storage efficiency of 80 à 90%.

[] – Nederlands-Brits team bouwt mijnschacht om tot energieopslag
[] – Short-term energy storage with “Gravitricity” – iron versus ion
[] – Why don’t we use weights to store energy?



Power-to-heat (PTH) relates to the storage of electricity by converting it into heat, usually generated with heat pumps, often for space heating as the final destination. The electricity is often sourced from excess renewable electricity. Denmark is the country with the most experience with PTH. Denmark began to experiment with PTH ca. 2005 and in 2014 has 350 MW PTH capacity installed, including heat pumps of 30 MW. This number was to be increased to 450 MW in 2015, produced by 44 installations.

[] – Power to Heat
[] – Power-to-Heat
[] – Power-to-heat for renewable energy integration
[] – “Power-to-heat” oder “Power-to-gas”?
[] – Power to Heat
[] – Vattenfal, Spandau, 120 MW power-to-heat

Overview Pumped Hydro Facilities in Europe

Goldisthal, largest PHS facility in Germany. Completed in 2004, 1060 MW, 8.5 GWh, 12/19 million m3 (upper/lower), 600 million euro.

[] – An overview of large-scale stationary electricity storage plants in Europe [2015]
[] – Europe to experience pumped storage boom [2013]

[] – Bath County Pumped Storage Station [USA]
Largest PHS facility in the world: 1985, $1.6B, 79% efficiency, 44 million m3, 3060 MW, 44 GWh, Voith-Siemens.

[] – List of pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations
(world-wide, over 1000 MW)

Can Norway Serve as Europe’s Battery Pack?


Arguments pro and con.

[] – Why Norway Can’t Become Europe’s Battery Pack
[] – The Debate Over Norway’s Ability to Become a Hydro Battery for Europe Is Surprisingly Robust
[] – Norway Could Provide 20,000MW of Energy Storage to Europe

EU Storage Programs

[] – European Energy Storage Technology Development Roadmap Towards 2030 –
[] – Energy storage
[] – stoRE – Final Publishable Report (pdf)
[] – Facilitating energy storage to allow high penetration of variable Renewable Energy (pdf)
[] – Mapping of energy storage innovation in Europe

[] – International storage projects

New Approach Pumped Hydro Storage

A company from Stuttgart, Germany proposes a new way of thinking about hydro storage. The design entails a giant cylinder with a stone piston sawn out of rock. During times with excess renewable energy the piston is lifted by water pressure from underneath. The potential energy can be retrieved by letting the piston sink again, propelling turbines.

A first pilot of 30 m deep and 20 m diameter is to be build in Saudi-Arabia, but no financial means have been allocated so far. Paperware so far.

[] – Company site
[] – Tüftler machen Gefällekraftwerk ohne Gefälle möglich

The Hydrogen Electrolyser

Salt Water Batteries

[] – Salt water battery

Batteries Keep On Getting Cheaper

The average price of a lithium-ion battery pack is down to $209/kilowatt-hour and the prices are set to fall below $100/kWh by 2025, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

[] – Batteries Keep On Getting Cheaper

High Temperature Electrolysis

Sunfire’s field of operation

Dr. Oliver Born: this presentation is mainly about using waste heat steam for hydrogen production. With steam you can typically achieve 20% higher efficiency with steam than with low temperature water.

[] – High-temperature electrolysis

During electrolysis, the amount of electrical energy that must be added equals the change in Gibbs free energy of the reaction plus the losses in the system. The losses can (theoretically) be arbitrarily close to zero, so the maximum thermodynamic efficiency of any electrochemical process equals 100%. In practice, the efficiency is given by electrical work achieved divided by the Gibbs free energy change of the reaction.

In most cases, such as room temperature water electrolysis, the electric input is larger than the enthalpy change of the reaction, so some energy is released as waste heat. In the case of electrolysis of steam into hydrogen and oxygen at high temperature, the opposite is true. Heat is absorbed from the surroundings, and the heating value of the produced hydrogen is higher than the electric input. In this case the efficiency relative to electric energy input can be said to be greater than 100%.

[] – Sunfire company site

[] – Low cost hydrogen production
Sunfire achieves 82% electrolysis efficiency in their hydrogen generator modules.
Input: saturated steam 40 kg/h @ 150°C and pressure: 3 bar(g)

British contribution: scaling up electrolysis to 100 MW

Hamburg Tests Thermal Storage of WindPower

The thermal store for wind energy, which is being developed in Hamburg, is a joint project between Siemens, Hamburg Energie and TUHH. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding the project.

Siemens-Gamesa will build a thermal energy storage of 1000 tonnes of rock fill, that at 600 degrees Celsius will provide 30 MWh electricity. This is the equivalent of the batteries of 50 e-vehicles.

[] – Start of construction in Hamburg-Altenwerder: Siemens Gamesa to install FES heat-storage for wind energy

World-Record Pumped-Hydro Storage for Scotland?

An anonymous energy blogger named “Scottish Scientist” has posted a proposal for a giant pumped hydro storage facility in the Scottish Highlands with the potential to service most of Europe.

The numbers are massive:

Height dam: 300 meter
Width dam: 2,000 meter
Max. water elevation: 650 meter
Storage volume: 4.4 billion m3
Lake surface area: 40 km2
Energy content: 6,800 GWh or 283 GW days

The new storage facility would have “enough capacity to balance and back-up the intermittent renewable energy generators such as wind and solar power now in use for the whole of Europe!”

If one “limits” the area to a circle with a radius of 3,000 km and applies 800 kW transmission lines, a two-way storage efficiency of 79% could be achieved. However, if limited to the North Sea area, one-way losses could be reduced to 7%.

The proposed design would includ a “stepped-canal solution”, see picture above. The biggest cost would be building a large canal of 170 meter width, which would require to move more earth than in the Panama Canal project to allow for discharging water speeds of 10-11 m/s.

[scottishscientist] – World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland?
[Google Maps] – Strathdearn
[] – Save Strathdearn Valley (local resistance to be expected)
[] – The Loch Ness Monster of Energy Storage

Lithium Mining

[] – Lithium

Read more…

Aqueous Sulfur Flow Battery for Ultralow-Cost Long-Duration Electrical Storage


Here, we demonstrate an ambient-temperature aqueous rechargeable flow battery that uses low-cost polysulfide anolytes in conjunction with lithium or sodium counter-ions, and an air- or oxygen-breathing cathode. The solution energy density, at 30–145 Wh/L depending on concentration and sulfur speciation range, exceeds current solution-based flow batteries, and the cost of active materials per stored energy is exceptionally low, ∼US$1/kWh when using sodium polysulfide. The projected storage economics parallel those for PHS and CAES but can be realized at higher energy density and with minimal locational constraints.

[] – Air-Breathing Aqueous Sulfur Flow Battery for Ultralow-Cost Long-Duration Electrical Storage calls for caution:

[] – Sulfur Battery Promises Less Expensive Grid Scale Storage Solution

You can take this story with a grain of salt, literally and figuratively. Researchers at MIT, responding to a challenge issued by the US Department of Energy, have developed a new battery for use by utility companies to store electricity that costs 100 times less than the conventional lithium ion batteries in use today. The new battery uses sulfur, air, water, and salt — all readily available materials that are cheap to buy. The new battery has store twice as much energy as a typical lead acid battery. Their research was published for the first time on October 11 by energy journal Joule… Under the leadership of former Energy Department head Steven Chu, the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research set a goal of reducing grid storage battery costs by a factor of five while increasing energy density also by a factor of five and all within five years… “Through an accidental laboratory discovery, we figured out that it could actually be oxygen, and therefore air. We needed to add one other component, which was a charge carrier to go back and forth between the sulfur and air electrode, and that turned out to be sodium.” The total chemical cost of their proposed battery is roughly $1 per kilowatt-hour. Since all the chemical components of the battery are dissolved in water, the researchers decided to use a flow battery architecture. In a flow battery, a system of pumps and tubes causes the components of the battery to flow past each other, generating chemical reactions that help it capture electrons… The sulfur-oxygen-salt battery under development currently has a useful life of 1500 hours — far less than the 20-year lifespan needed to attract commercial interest in the technology. The researchers have a long way to go yet, but the prospect of ultra low cost grid storage makes their quest worthwhile.

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