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Archive for the category “storage”

Amadeus & 1414 Degrees Energy Storage

Amadeus is a EU project that investigates the potential to store large amounts of energy in high-temperature molten materials, like silicon and boron.

1414 °C is the melting point of silicon. A company in Adelaide, Australia, has named itself 1414 Degrees and claims to have achieved a breakthrough in energy storage by bringing down storage cost per kWh with a factor of 10 compared with lithium-ion. Based on the latent heat in molten silicon. Energy is fed to containers with silicon in order to melt it. Due to the high latent heat capacity of silicon, much energy is stored during the phase change from solid to fluid silicon. A cube with a rib of 70 cm is said to be able to store 500 kWh. Silicon has a density of 2.33 ton/m3. One tone or 429 liter silicon would suffice to power 28 homes for a day. That would amount to 36 times the capacity of a 14-kWh Tesla Powerwall-2 lithium-ion battery. The company however doesn’t target individual households and doesn’t aim to compete with batteries but instead is aiming at “district heating, major industry, electricity producers and suburb-scale residential developments”. At a large scale the claim is that 1 MWh can be stored at the cost of $70,- or 7 cent/kWh. The number of charge/discharge cycles is said to be virtually unlimited.

[] – EU Amadeus project
[] – Extremely high-temperature TES prototype development in Europe
[] – Thermionic emission
[] – Hybrid thermionic-photovoltaic converter
[] – What is Horizon 2020?
[] – Next GenerAtion MateriAls and Solid State DevicEs for Ultra High Temperature Energy Storage and Conversion
[] – Europe to Lead Research Project for Energy Storage in Molten Silicon
[] – Innovative molten silicon-based energy storage system

1414 Degrees
[] – Official site
[] – Molten silicon used for thermal energy storage
[] – Latent heat
[] – Silicon Energy Storage Technology Scales Up for Commercial Production
[] – Startup Says Molten Silicon Will Make Lithium-Ion Storage ‘Uneconomic.’
[] – Molten Silicon thermal energy storage system has higher energy density and ten times lower cost than lithium ion batteries for utility storage

Read more…

Water Electrolysis in Mainz

The German city of Mainz is situated in the Bundesland (province) Rhineland-Palatinate, which has the ambition of eliminating fossil fuel from electricity production completely by 2030. For that purpose a storage solution for regenerative energy needs to be found. Mainz has built a facility based on electrolysis of water, producing hydrogen and oxygen. Their Siemens Silyzer 200 PEM electrolysis system operates with a conversion efficiency of 65-70%.

Siemens Silyzer 200 PEM electrolysis system

[] – Energiepark Mainz, official site
[] – Energy Park Mainz A Project for the Industry
[] – Mainz claim to have the world’s largest green hydrogen plant
[] – SILYZER 200 (PEM electrolysis system)
[] – Electrolyzer Manufacturers Stake Their Claims

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Renewable Intermittency – Continental Scale is the Solution


Here an interview with Dr Gregor Czisch, a consultant specializing in energy supply at the firm Transnational Renewables Consulting. Dr. Czisch likes to think big. His area of expertise and passion is to design a big picture for renewable energy. On a continental scale no less. The largest hindrance of large scale implementation of renewable energy is its intermittent character: no solar energy at night or during periods of cloudy skies and rain or several days of no wind worth mentioning. The problem is not so much producing large amounts of kWh’s in a renewable fashion, the problem is to make supply meet demand. Although there is still much room for further improvement of wind and solar energy production, in essence we have reached a mature state of technology already. The bottleneck currently is storage.

To make a long story short: according to Dr. Czisch a major contribution to breaking down hurdles standing in the way of a 100% renewable energy future would be to strive for a “super grid” on o continental scale. Both in Europe and America. The greatest obstacle in realizing that aim is of a political nature, not technical.

Dr. Czisch has made mathematical models for both Europe and the United States that show that the larger the integrated area of renewable energy generation is, the lesser intermittency will be a problem.

[] – Talking about the Super Grid
[deepresource] – The Enormous Energy Potential of the North Sea
[] – Supergrids for Balancing Variable Renewables
[] – Vollversorgung aus erneuerbaren Energien
[] – Gregor Czisch

Dr. Czisch’s vision for a renewable energy future for Europe.

[] – Scenarios for a Future Electricity Supply: CostOptimised Variations on Supplying Europe and its Neighbours with Electricity from Renewable Energies

Bill Joy Unveils a Battery to Challenge Lithium-Ion

Bill Joy, one of the main driving forces behind BSD Unix, Sun Microsystems and the vi editor has unveiled yesterday a…

solid-state alkaline battery at the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Energy Innovation Summit in Basalt, Colorado, that he says is safer and cheaper than the industry leader, lithium-ion. The appeal of alkaline: it could cost a tiny fraction of existing battery technologies and could be safer in delicate settings, such as aboard airplanes. “What people didn’t really realize is that alkaline batteries could be made rechargable,” Joy said in a phone interview Thursday.

But it is very early day…

The Ionic Materials investor envisions three ultimate applications for the polymer technology: consumer electronics, automotive and the power grid. But Joy acknowledged that the technology isn’t quite ready for prime-time. It has yet to be commercialized, and factories are needed to manufacture it. It could be ready for wider use within five years, he said.

The real innovator is a startup company Ionic Materials, in Woburn, Mass. The claimed breakthrough is that the company succeeded in making alkaline batteries rechargeable. According to spokesman Mike Zimmerman, the alkaline batteries would be heavier than the lithium ones, but that would be more than compensated with lower cost and higher energy density. Additionally there are environmental advantages in replacing cobalt with relatively abundant manganese and zinc. Zinc could eventually even be replaced by aluminium, reducing the battery weight below the lithium-based ones.

[] – Tech Guru Bill Joy Unveils a Battery to Challenge Lithium-Ion
[] – A Better, Safer Battery Could Be Coming to a Laptop Near You
[] – Alkaline battery
[] – Lithium-ion battery
[] – Tech guru Bill Joy unveils battery to challenge lithium-ion
[] – Bill Joy
[] – Bill Joy, Why the future doesn’t need us
[] – Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us

Energy Storage Developments in Germany

Pressured air as a storage medium.

Although this is an English language blog, there are so many developments in Germany regarding all aspects related to renewable energy, that it would be a shame to ignore these. In this post you will find a number of German language videos related to energy storage.

Read more…

Advanced Batteries

In the light of our previous post about the Opel Ampera E… that car, or its twin the Chevy Bolt rather, has a Lithium-ion battery that weighs 435 kg and contains 60 kWh, if fully charged. That’s an energy density of 0.14 kWh/kg.

Battery Chevy Bolt: 435 kg, 60 kWh, $145/kWh

An interesting question is: how much progress can still be made in making these batteries more compact and energy dense?

The book Advanced Batteries by Robert Huggins gives on page 29 a value for the Maximum Theoretical Specific Energy (MTSE) for these Li/I2 batteries of 0.56 kWh/kg or 4 times the amount realized in the Chevy Bolt battery. In other words, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

[] – Advanced Batteries
[] – Chevy Bolt EV’s Battery Is As Big As A Tesla’s
[] – Lithium-ion battery
[] – Energy Density

Read more…

“Brine4Power” – World’s Largest Battery to be Built in Germany

Redox flow battery

A battery large enough to power a city like Berlin for one hour, in a cavity the size of the Cologne Cathedral. That’s the intention of the planned project by utility company EWE, based in Oldenburg, Germany. The idea is to use space in salt caverns to store a large redox flow battery, resulting in electricity stored in a liquid. The project will be carried out in cooperation with the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and probably completed by the end of 2023.

Vanadium-based flow battery.

The redox flow battery consists of two different electrolyte fluids. Renewable electricity from solar panels or wind turbines can be used to charge these types of batteries.

The innovation from Jena University is that it is no longer necessary to use a polluting combination of heavy metals like Vanadium dissolved in sulphuric acid. Instead it uses uses recyclable polymers (plastics) dissolved in salt water (brine) as an electrolyte.

[] – EWE plans to build the world´s largest battery
[] – Flow Battery

Read more…

Dlouhé Stráně Hydro-Electric Powerstation

[] – Dlouhé stráně Hydro Power Plant
[Google Maps] – Dlouhé Stráně, Czech Republic

Read more…

Unconventional Pumped Hydro Storage

Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station, Ozarks, Missouri, USA

[] – List of pumped-storage hydroelectric power stations
[] – Pumped-storage hydroelectricity

[] – Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station
[] – Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station
[Google Maps] – Taum Sauk Hydroelectric Power Station

Building an adequate energy storage system is one of the central challenges of the renewable energy transition. Pumped hydro storage is a very important option. Most people associate this with a dam in a valley behind which water can be pumped upwards in times of excess renewable energy available, in order for it to be released later, when the electricity is required.

But there are more options. One of them is building a large reservoir on top of mountain. Another one, attractive for the flatlanders, is building a high dike in the sea.

Loucna nad Desnou, Czech Republic.

Elevation: 510 m (highest in Europe),
Reservoirs: 2.7 million m3 (higher) and 3.4 million m3 (lower)
Pump-generators: 2 x 325 MW

[] – Dlouhé stráně Hydro Power Plant
[Google Maps] – Přečerpávací vodní elektrárna Dlouhé stráně
[] – Panoramic view. Note the lower reservoir.

Cortes-la Muela Powerplant, Valencia, Spain

More than 2 GW, generating 5,000 GWh/year.

[] – La Muela pumped-storage plant
[Google Maps] – Cortes-la Muela Powerplant

[source] So-called Plan Lievense, dating from 1981. With the massive Dutch multi-GW wind power plans for the North Sea, to be realized before 2023, some form of energy storage is inevitable. One of the options is building dike structure that allow for fluctuating water levels of up to 40 meter.

Design consists of a closed ring-shaped dike of ca. 6 x 10 km. Water levels will very from 32 to 40 meter under the water level of the surrounding North Sea. Lake surface area: ca. 40 km2. Storage capacity is more than 20 GWh (value 5 million euro consumer end price of 25 cent/kWh), sufficient to produce 1,500 MW during at least 12 hours to the national grid. this plan could be profitable from 9 GW wind offshore wind power, expected after 2020..

[] – Energie-eiland in de Noordzee
[] – Plan Lievense

Plan Brouwersmeer near the coast of the Zeeland province, an implementation of the Plan Lievense.

[Google Maps] – Brouwersmeer

Planning stage – energy island near Belgian coast

[deepresource] – Pumped Hydro Storage

IFBattery – Instantaneous Recharging Batteries

An innovation from Perdue University, Laffayette, USA, could dramatically reduce the time needed to recharge a battery. E-vehicles could enter a charging station en route and recharge in a matter of minutes, like in the petrol car days and as such could significantly lower the acceptation threshold for e-vehicles. Gone would be the necessity of a nation-wide power plug infrastructure in front of every home to recharge the car at night.

Purdue scientist John Cushman presented his findings at the recent International Society for Porous Media 9th International Conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Recharging consists of refilling a car with fluid electrolytes, not with electricity kWh’s:

The spent battery fluids or electrolyte could be collected and taken to a solar farm, wind turbine installation or hydroelectric plant for re-charging… Instead of refining petroleum, the refiners would reprocess spent electrolytes and instead of dispensing gas, the fueling stations would dispense a water and ethanol or methanol solution as fluid electrolytes to power vehicles… Other flow batteries exist, but [this is] the first to remove membranes which reduces costs and extends battery life… Membrane fouling can limit the number of recharge cycles and is a known contributor to many battery fires.

[] – ‘Instantly rechargeable’ battery could change the future of electric and hybrid automobiles

Daimler to Build Giant Battery Factory in Germany

Kamenz, East-Germany

Europe is a front-runner in implementing renewable energy sources, but is lagging behind with producing essential electricity storage. This is about to change with Daimler’s planned new giant battery in Kamenz, Germany. Purpose: build batteries for 10 new Daimler EV-models, on the road by 2022. The plant will be carbon neutral, with a combined heat-and-power plant and solar power. The initiative is aimed at competing with Tesla.

[] – Daimler lays foundation for one of the biggest and most modern battery factories in the world
[] –
[] – Europe joins race for cheaper batteries with new gigafactory
[] – Daimler baut weitere Batteriefabrik fuer Elektrofahrzeuge in Kamenz

Cheap Electricity Storage for Households Underway

[source] “MyReserve”, 93% efficiency. 4,4 kWh; 6,6 kWh; 8,8 kWh; 11 kWh units

Solar installation company Solarwatt from Dresden/Germany has announced that it will offer batteries for substantially lower prices in the Summer 2017.
Price 4.4 kWh unit: 5.499 Euro

German price context:

1 kWh from the grid: 30 cent
1 kWh grid feed-in compensation: 12 cent
1 kWh cost from panel: 10 cent

Under these (very German) price conditions does it pay to install this Solarwatt battery.

This btw is still a far cry from the promised $100-200/kWh.

[] – Warum sich Solaranlagen in Privathaushalten demnächst rechnen könnten
[] – Stromspeicher
[] – Solarwatt

Ammonia (NH3) as Storage Medium for Renewable Energy

Energy from wind, solar and water in; ammonia (NH3) as energy storage medium out, eliminating carbon from the cycle. The idea is to convert renewable energy into liquid ammonia when electricity prices are low and burn it as fuel in gas-fired power plants when there is a shortage of renewable energy.

Liquid ammonia at 1 Bar in a 60,000 m3 tank contains more than 200 GWh of energy (annual production of 30 wind turbines).
Demonstration facility planned in Holland to be completed in five years.

[] – Dutch gas plants made fossil free?
[] – Is ammonia the holy grail for renewable energy storage?
[] – Ammonia (NH3)
[] – Proton Ventures, What We Do
[energyoutlook] – Ammonia As An Alternative Fuel? (negative assessment)
[] – Analysis of Islanded Ammonia-based Energy Storage Systems

RICAS-2020 – Compressed Air Storage

EU scientists are investigating if high pressure air, stored in empty mines and tunnels, could provide an alternative for pumped hydro storage in mountain basins. Currently pumped air storage efficiency merely reaches ca. 50%. The goal of the project is to substantially increase that efficiency to 70-80%. The trick is to not ignore the thermal losses accompanied with putting air under pressure, c.q. releasing it.

[] – RICAS Project (Research Infrastructure Compressed Air Storage)
[] – Compressed air energy storage
[] – EU Proposes Air As World’s Next Big Energy Storage Option
[] – Air could be the world’s next battery
[] – Energieopslag in Bergen: een heel luchtige zaak
[] – Pilot in Switzerland; expected efficiency 75%.

Storage Breakthrough – $100/kWh has been achieved

Cheap storage to counter the intermittent supply of renewable electricity is the missing link en route towards the desired renewable energy base of the future, but that problem could now have been solved. Technology has developed so rapidly in recent years that cost of electricity storage has been brought down from $1000 to $100 per kWh.

City College NY has improved an old concept of mangandioxide-zinc batteries. Result: 6000 charge-cycles for less than $100/kwh.
Price storage of a single kWh: 1.67 dollar cent or say 8 cent per day per 5 kWh/day household. Peanuts.
Can also be used for cars: 40 kWh battery for $4000. Bye-bye gasoline.

Mangan-Oxid is abundant and non-toxic.
This NYC startup is going to produce the batteries first:


[] – Sustainable, high energy density battery created
[] – Regenerable Cu-intercalated MnO2 layered cathode for highly cyclable energy dense batteries
[] – Unexpected discovery leads to a better battery
[] – Power dense zinc-manganese power unit as cheap as a car battery
[] – Manganese
[] – Zinc
[] – Batterijdoorbraak: magische grens van 100 dollar is geslecht

Power to Gas

Storage of intermittent renewable energy is one of the core challenges that needs to be addressed to make the energy transition away from fossil fuel work. Pumped hydro is a reliable method, but this requires the presence of mountains and valleys and these are in overpopulated Europe in short supply. Another approach is the conversion of renewable electricity into gas, like H2, CH4, CO, etc. “Power-to-gas”.

[] – Power to gas

Read more…

New Renewable Power Storage Method


Tests have been completed in the German Bodensee with a 20 ton, 3 meter concrete hollow sphere, sunk to the bottom of the lake. When water flows into the sphere, electricity can be generated. Alternatively, wind power can be used to empty the sphere again and as such (virtually) load the battery again. Future dimensions are thought to be 20 meter or lager (4,200 m3 volume).

In March 2017 the research project StEnSea (Storing Energy at Sea) announced their successful completion of a four-week test of a pumped storage underwater reservoir. In this configuration a hollow sphere submerged in deep water acts as the lower reservoir while the upper reservoir is the enclosing body of water. When a reversible turbine integrated into the sphere uses surplus electricity to pump water out of the sphere the force of the pump must act on the entire column of water above the sphere, so the deeper the sphere is located, the more potential energy it can store and convert back to electricity by letting water back in via the turbine. As such the energy storage capacity of the submerged reservoir is not governed by the gravitational energy in the traditional sense, but rather by the vertical pressure variation.

Estimated storage cost at large scale operation: 1.6-2.0 eurocent/kWh.
Storage capacity hollow sphere with 30m diameter with a volume of 12,000 m³ and water depth of 700 meter: 20,000 kWh.
Norway would be a suitable location as it has trenches off the coast with water depths of up to 725m. More depth means higher pressure and more power storage capacity per m3 storage volume.

[] – Riesige Betonkugel speichert Energie
[] – Pumped-storage hydroelectricity
[] – StEnSea, Storing Energy at Sea
[] – STENSEA – Stored energy in the Sea
[] – Subsea Pumped Hydro Storage


Hamburg Considers Large Scale Storage of Heat


The key challenge with setting up a 100% renewable energy base is providing storage facilities. This applies to intermittent supply of electricity via wind and PV-solar, that needs to be matched with equally intermittent demand. The same consideration applies to space heating, the demand of which currently is mostly covered via fossil fuel. If you want to phase out fossil fuel for space heating, you will need to get serious about seasonal storage of heat: trapping solar heat in the summer, use it to heat large bodies of soil and withdraw these Joules in the Winter.

The city of Hamburg is considering a large scale heat storage that should cover 25% of Hamburgs needs. For the moment the buffer would be charged with industrial waste heat from fossil sources. But once realized the storage bugger could be fed with thermal solar as well.

Estimated cost: 4 cent/kwh, half of the price customers currently pay for district heating.

[] – Hamburg considers innovative heat storage scheme

MERITS Seasonal Heat Storage Breakthrough

Everybody prefers to talk about wind and PV-solar when it comes to renewable energy. The reality is that electricity is only a relatively small part of the energy consumption of private households. Take the energy consumption of Dutch households:

[] – Energieverbruik door huishoudens, 1990-2013

Natural gas: 3/4 (space heating, cooking, bath)
Electricity: 1/4 (lights, TV, fridge, freezer, router, etc)

In other words: the greater challenge is to replace fossil fuel for heating purposes with renewable sources. Two major renewable sources for heating are
1) thermal solar
2) geothermal

The problem with thermal solar is the mismatch between supply and demand. You need heat in the Winter but the sun shines mostly in the Summer. Apparently a major breakthrough has been achieved in storing large amounts of solar heat in molten salts.

[] – Developing a compact rechargable heat battery
[] – Merits in slides
[] – Thermal energy storage

Breakthrough Battery Technology: $65/kWh


US researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a liquid metal battery that could fulfil that role. Such a battery would lower the overall costs of energy storage, and have the advantages that they are mechanically simple and don’t take up much space… Indeed, the team’s experiments with this novel storage system carried out at 450°C displayed a current density of 275mA/cm2, with a cycling efficiency of 98% on charging and 73% ‘round-trip’ energy efficiency… The team’s experiments completely charging and discharging their battery over 450 cycles over 75 days suggests that the battery will still have 85% of its initial storage capacity after 10 years active service… The team adds that at today’s prices, the electrode materials costs are approximately $65/kWh.

Editor: is this is true and no serious (environmental) disadvantages come with this technology, this could mean the final breakthrough for wind and solar.

[] – Molten metal batteries set to store grid power

[deepresource] – Tesla Storage for $350/kWh
[deepresource] – 160$/kwh Storage in 2016
[deepresource] – Storage For Less Than $100/kWh

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