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Arpa-E Plans To Build A Grid-Scale Battery Storage

Author: Source: Datetime: 2016-10-23 19:18:38
battery storageAs the grid is increasingly powered by renewable energy sources, it will need energy storage when the wind does not blow and the sun does not glow. However, the three top-tier grid-scale energy storage technologies - pumping, lithium-ion and "mobile" - can not be challenged.

The US Department of Energy's Technology Incubator ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy) wanted to change that. In some high-risk, high-return R & D projects, may change the entire grid storage equation. US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said he believes that grid-scale solar power batteries storage will be the key to making the grid completely decarbonized in the middle of this century innovation.

"There will be plenty of discussion about the future of the grid," said Eric Rohlfing, deputy director of ARPA-E technology. "Of course, what we need to do is make renewable energy more permeable. So storage is an obvious way to do this ... The two key points of grid storage are: it must be cheap, it must be durable - going through a lot of cycles.

Here is the grid of today's energy storage landscape: pumped storage, where the excess power pump water uphill, when the water back downhill, the use of turbine return grid, accounting for 95% of today's grid-scale energy storage, according to ARPA-E . In total, it provides 20.4 gigawatts of generating capacity for the grid. However, pumped storage needs to comply with land use and environmental regulations, huge water supplies and large hills to pump water. Thus, while it is reliable and inexpensive, it is not extensively or universally extensible.

Lithium-ion batteries have provided the impetus for the consumer electronics revolution of the past 30 years, but they are also expensive compared to pumping hydropower. And their flammability, such as Samsung Galaxy Note 7 customers know, may be more than just an inconvenience if a grid-sized battery farm is completely Hindenburg with the flame extinguished. Thus, on a grid scale, lithium ions may only be rated as partially reliable, affordable, or scalable.

Flow batteries, another promising technology, store their power in vats of electrolyte; it simply amplifies by adding more barrels. Although flow cells represent a new frontier in grid scale reliability, they are also expensive today.

According to a recent report, ARPA-E has invested $ 85 million in energy storage research since 2009. The ARPA-E Web site records about 73 projects at companies, laboratories and universities, including MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Penn State, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Ford, Boeing And General Electric.

Today there are grid-scale energy storage technologies based on simple scientific principles, and everyone learns physics in high school. The mass m is lifted to the height h, and its gravitational potential energy is m times the gravitational acceleration (9.8 m / s sec.).

All this means that unused energy on the grid can be easily stored in large quantities, usually in the form of water or metal or concrete slabs, which are lifted or pumped to the hills. Then when the grid requires energy, the rising energy is allowed to fall, and then the stored energy is recaptured by the turbine or the regenerative brake.

In April, the US Land Administration approved a California-based company, Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES), a rights lease for testing the energy storage concept on a tram on a 43-hectare public land. Southern Nevada. The ARES project is expected to store 12.5 megawatt hours of energy and 50 megawatts of electrical capacity. According to the company, its patented technology can be enlarged. "If we had a 500 megawatt project, we could double the capacity and it would only increase the cost of capital by 20 per cent," said James Kelly, CEO of ARES, in a blog posting to the power company industry blog in April.
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