5 Types of Energy Storage Solutions Worldwide
There are numerous types of energy storage solutions available for use in the energy industry, and more are being developed as the technology becomes a crucial component in the global energy systems of the future.
Because wind and solar output are affected by local weather, variations can occur on short timeframes, thus generating timings may differ from demand times. In the case of solar, for example, greatest output is typically in the middle of the day, but the highest demand peak is frequently in the evening.
As a result, a variety of solutions are required. Energy storage systems can range from quick response solutions for near real-time and daily network management to longer duration alternatives for unpredictable week-to-week variations in supply and demand and more predictable seasonal variations.
The various methods of energy storage can be classified into 5 broad technological categories:
Storage of batteries
Batteries, the oldest, most popular, and generally available form of storage, are an electrochemical technology made up of one or more cells having a positive terminal known as a cathode and a negative terminal known as an anode.
Batteries use a variety of chemistries. Lithium-ion and lead acid batteries are the most well-known and widely used in portable electronic gadgets and vehicles. Other solid battery types include nickel-cadmium and sodium-sulphur, with zinc-air on the horizon.
Flow batteries using liquid electrolyte solutions, such as vanadium redox and iron-chromium and zinc-bromine chemistries, are another kind.
Although not a battery, supercapacitors can be classified as an electrochemical technology, with applications mostly in sub-minute level response.
Thermal storage entails the absorption and release of heat or cold in a solid, liquid, or air, as well as potential changes in the storage medium’s state, such as from gas to liquid or solid to liquid and vice versa.
Energy storage systems include molten salt and liquid air storage, as well as cryogenic storage. With concentrated solar power, molten salt has emerged as an economically feasible heat storage option, however this and other heat storage methods may be constrained by the necessity for massive subterranean storage caverns.
Mechanical energy storage systems, which use the kinetic forces of rotation or gravitation to store energy, are perhaps the most basic. However, in today’s grid applications, feasibility necessitates the use of cutting-edge technologies.
The primary possibilities include energy storage with flywheels and compressed air systems, while gravitational energy is a developing technology with a variety of options.
Energy storage with pumped hydro systems based on massive water reservoirs has become the most frequent kind of utility-scale storage globally for much of the last century.
Water must be cycled between two reservoirs at differing levels, with the ‘energy storage’ in the upper reservoir being released when the water is released to the lower reservoir.
Hydrogen energy storage system, which is still in the early stages, would entail converting it from electricity via electrolysis and storing it in tanks. It can then be re-electrified or supplied to new applications such as transportation, industry, or residential as a supplement or alternative for gas.