Fraunhofer Experiments With Simple Hydro Energy Storage Concept

on November 25, 2016

energy storage cleantechnicaPumped-storage hydro is a known concept. It is the largest existing form of storing peak electricity for time slots with less supply.

Now Fraunhofer has started an experiment with a new idea. According to Georg Küffner writing at FAZ,  they built a sphere with concrete, diameter of three meters. Then they immersed that into the Bodensee lake.

The idea is to have a large sphere at the bottom of some lake or ocean and use that as the lower reservoir of pumped storage.

I have no idea if that works out to be cheaper than using mountains. But it might be a good idea for small scale projects sitting right next to some wind park. One advantage that comes to mind: This would probably be fast to build and modular, so you could start out small and easily add capacity as needed. That’s one of the advantages of solar and wind projects as well, so this might be a nice fit for them. In contrast, the old concept needs to build at a large scale fixed for decades.

Anyway, just like the idea of moving mountains, I thought it was worth keeping in mind.

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CleanTechnicaFraunhofer Experiments With Simple Hydro Energy Storage Concept

What is the state of play for energy storage right now?

on November 24, 2016

AlterEnergy MagThe energy storage industry is growing leaps and bounds, and opportunities for energy storage deployment are quickly opening across the country and around the world. Today, in the United States, we seem to be revising our projection estimates each quarter, anticipating even more deployments as markets and regulations are recognizing the value of energy storage systems. According to the US Energy Storage Monitor, deployment grew by more than 256 percent in 2015, and 2016 is on pace to be another record setting year in the U.S. alone. Markets across the globe are adopting cost-effective, reliable energy storage as well, with more than 2 gigawatts (GW) of new systems announced this year.

What are the main obstacles for broader energy storage deployment?

While energy storage is quickly advancing, historically these types of advanced energy systems have not been commonplace on the grid. This presents a number of challenges to overcome to ensure that storage systems have fair access to competitive markets and utility procurements. The two main obstacles are implementing regulations and market structures that account for storage systems operating parameters; and ensuring that competitive markets recognize the value that these systems provide and compensate performance and value delivered.

First and foremost, to be regulated is to be recognized, and even though systems are quickly going in around the country, most markets, integrated resource plans (IRPs), and utility procurements do not consider energy storage systems alongside traditional utility assets. Instead, we commonly see outmoded assets like peaker plants being procured without first considering multiple other solutions that are present and cost-effective today (energy storage, demand response, efficiency measures, etc.). ‘All-source’ RFPs – and IRPs that weigh storage side-by-side with other solutions – will drive innovative markets forward, encouraging regulators and decision makers to properly value the system-wide benefits that energy storage delivers.

When market and procurement consideration is given to energy storage, we must also make sure that we are properly valuing these systems and providing system owners compensation for the increased performance, resiliency, and flexibility delivered to the grid. In both short and long duration applications, storage systems enable us to operate the grid more efficiently and increases overall system reliability, saving money for utilities and ratepayers alike while improving overall system operations. But these savings and performance improvements, along with many other value streams that storage delivers, are not properly reflected in our markets and regulations.

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AlterEnergy MagWhat is the state of play for energy storage right now?

Stem becomes first energy storage provider to meet crucial reliability and rerformance requirements for Southern California Edison

on November 24, 2016

businesswireAchieves numerous industry firsts based on diversity of systems, customers, and experience deploying and controlling systems.

Solidifying its position as the leading provider of intelligent energy storage, Stem, Inc. announced that it was the first customer-sited energy storage developer to help Southern California Edison (SCE) meet local grid reliability needs.

Leveraging a relationship with SCE through the utility’s Local Capacity Requirements (LCR) procurement, Stem became the utility’s first energy storage partner to bring online some of its systems that will be used to deliver flexible capacity in Southern California. The fleet includes North America’s largest indoor energy storage system (1.3 MW) at Park Place in Irvine, systems at John Hancock Insurance—also 1 MW—and Soka University in Aliso Viejo. On November 9, 2016, Stem dispatched its fleet to meet SCE’s demonstration test requirement in the LCR program as part of preparations to meet regional winter energy needs.

“The systems Stem has installed represent another step forward in our plans for a modernized grid that will enhance reliability and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” said SCE Vice President for Energy Procurement and Management Colin Cushnie.

In another industry first, Stem aggregated and deployed indoor and outdoor systems featuring three types of batteries and inverters at multiple sites for a diverse set of customers. The successful dispatch of capacity makes these systems the first distributed energy resource of its kind to be integrated into any of SCE’s demand response programs.

“This further demonstrates that Stem is building and operating the largest digitally-connected energy storage network and using world-class analytics to optimize the value of customers’ energy assets to deliver grid services,” said John Carrington, Stem’s CEO. “Our customers can begin saving money from day one and contribute to local reliability from these big, customer-sited systems.”

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BusinessWireStem becomes first energy storage provider to meet crucial reliability and rerformance requirements for Southern California Edison

QINOUS introduces new compact energy storage system

on November 24, 2016

Renewable-Energy-FocusThe new system’s power capacity ranges from 30 to 200 kW power and up to 335 kWh. Occupying up to 4.5 square meters floor space, the QINOUS ESS QCompact includes a complete AC storage system and energy management system. The company claims the system is ideally suited for use in remote regions with no connection to a national grid as well as for grid-connected use in commercial or community applications.

The energy management system manages the flow of energy between various generation units, such as solar plants and diesel generators, and controls frequency and voltage in the grid. There is also a function that makes off-grid operation possible, so area networks can be supplied with a stable source of electricity in the event of a power failure.

QINOUS monitors the state of the components and the system performance is accessible via a secure web-based monitoring system. 

The energy storage housing is made of aluminum and high quality insulation material. The interior is divided into two compartments, with the area for the batteries and electronics  temperature-regulated and almost airtight to protect against aging which could result from high temperatures, dust, salt mist, insects, and moisture. The other compartment contains the heat exchanger and transformer.

A QINOUS ESS QcompactM with 90 kW and 165 kWh will soon be put into operation in a village in Tanzania.  Together with an existing solar facility, the company hopes it will ensure a clean energy supply for the village. “The solar facility in combination with our storage unit offers the ideal solution for the village to gain more independence from expensive, environmentally harmful diesel fuel,” says Busso von Bismarck, Head of Business Development at QINOUS. 

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Renewable Energy FocusQINOUS introduces new compact energy storage system

FERC Proposes to Open Up Wholesale Markets for Energy Storage and Aggregation

on November 23, 2016

energy storage greentech mediaThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission just took its strongest step yet to initiate markets for energy storage across the nation.

The commission, which governs interstate power transmission and wholesale markets, proposed a rule Thursday that would require each regional transmission organization and independent system operator to create rules for energy storage to participate in wholesale markets. The new regulations would have to recognize “the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources,” which differ from traditional grid infrastructure in that they can act as both a load and a generator, and perform a multitude of functions if given the chance.

If approved, the proposed rule could greatly expand the role of energy storage in wholesale markets — and the size of the industry itself. So far, storage has been relegated to the few areas that passed enabling policies.

The PJM grid operator created a frequency regulation market and became the largest U.S. market for energy storage. It has seen 250.5 megawatts of cumulative deployments since 2013, according to GTM Research. The California ISO established a “non-generator” resource type that allowed storage to compete in the markets, and California became the second most prolific U.S. market for energy storage, with 73.2 megawatts deployed.

ISOs and RTOs serve about 70 percent of the country, so if FERC requires all ISOs and RTOs to adopt similar policies, the geographically cloistered storage industry could quickly go nationwide.

“This isn’t just clarifying existing rules; it’s redefining the rules to acknowledge the fact that energy storage cannot adequately participate right now and changing the rules to accommodate it,” said Daniel Finn-Foley, senior analyst for energy storage at GTM Research. “It’s a really big deal.”

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GreenTech MediaFERC Proposes to Open Up Wholesale Markets for Energy Storage and Aggregation

Tesla reboots stores to add energy storage devices for home

on November 23, 2016

automotive-newsTesla stores aren’t just for cars anymore.

The maker of electric vehicles said on Monday that it has revamped “dozens” of locations to display the Powerwall home battery and informative graphics on energy storage. The additions coincide with Tesla Motors’ acquisition of solar energy company SolarCity, which was approved by shareholders on Thursday and closed Monday.

The Powerwall home battery stores solar energy for use at night and in cases of power grid failure. The batteries were added to stores in California, Hawaii, the U.K. and Australia, among other locations in North America and Europe. Tesla customers can order the battery in-store or online.

Tesla’s inclusion of energy products takes it further away from the traditional dealership model. The automaker has battled state governments to sell vehicles directly to consumers rather than through a franchised dealership network.

It typically places stores and galleries in locations with high foot traffic, such as shopping malls, instead of stand-alone storefronts.

Though the home batteries have only been added to stores in markets that have shown strong demand for energy products, Tesla said it plans to expand the offerings to more locations.

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Automotive NewsTesla reboots stores to add energy storage devices for home

VanadiumCorp joins Energy Storage Canada

on November 23, 2016

yahoo financeVANCOUVER , Nov. 21, 2016 /CNW/ – VanadiumCorp Resource Inc. (TSX-V: “VRB”) (the “Company”) is pleased to announce it has joined Energy Storage Canada (ESC). The ESC is the only energy storage industry association in Canada . ESC was founded in 2012 as a subgroup of the Corporate Partners Committee under the Smart Grid Forum.

Storage is the key to making renewable energy a fully competitive component of any electrical grid. It can make our grid cleaner and more efficient, for the benefit of all consumers – large and small, urban and rural. There is the opportunity, in Canada , to become world leaders in developing energy storage technologies like the vanadium redox flow battery (VRB, VRFB).

VanadiumCorp is launching many initiatives relating to the development of high purity vanadium required for the rapidly growing application of the VRFB.  VRFBs are internationally recognized as proven and commercialized energy storage technology. Since 1984, VRFB technology has evolved parallel to lithium and has increased in energy density for larger applications. Grid scale long duration energy storage is necessary for the emerging need of grid security and modernization. In recent years, the VRFB and high density vanadium lithium batteries have also emerged in applications such as electric vehicles (EVs). There are many advantages of using the single element vanadium in the electrolyte (VE) of a VRFB.  The contained VE never degrades, loses charge or emits any heat or emissions. Without any need for disposal, the reusable VE defines the VRFB as 100% green, sustainable energy storage. The VRFB also outperforms most competing technologies to store the intermittent and disruptive nature of renewable energy. The are very few economical sources of VE globally. Developing stable, low cost supply of VE is critical as VE represents ~42% of the cost of the VRFB system as the core component.

Members of ESC share the common mission to advance the energy storage industry in Canada through collaboration, education, policy advocacy and research. The ESC takes an unbiased view towards technology and is supported by the contributions of our active members. Energy Storage Canada works closely with other energy storage alliances and associations to push the industry forward.

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Yahoo FinanceVanadiumCorp joins Energy Storage Canada

Improved microscale energy storage units for wearable and miniaturized electronic devices

on November 22, 2016

phys.orgEnergy storage units that can be integrated into wearable and flexible electronic systems are becoming increasingly important in today’s world. A research team from KAUST has now developed a microsupercapacitor that exploits three-dimensional porous electrodes1. These micropower units are expected to enable a new generation of “smart”products, such as self-powered sensors for wearables, security, structural health monitoring and “internet of things” applications.

However, for these units to be tiny yet still efficient, the highest energy density must go into the smallest area.

One approach to carrying this out is to construct microbatteries using films with a thickness of just a few micrometers or less and to replace traditional electrolytes with solid-state ones. Thin film batteries have demonstrated relatively high energy density, which is the amount of energy they can store in a given area. However, they are afflicted by limited cycle life and poor , meaning they are slow to charge and discharge.

Microsupercapacitors are a faster alternative, and these may prove suitable for applications requiring power pulsing and very long cycle life.

“Also, while batteries must be charged at a constant voltage, a supercapacitor charges most efficiently by drawing the maximum current that the source can supply, irrespective of voltage,” said KAUST Professor of Material Science and Engineering Husam Alshareef from the University’s Functional Nanomaterials & Devices group.

This makes supercapacitors more appealing for self-powered system applications where the power source may be intermittent.

Alshareef’s team has now developed integrated microsupercapacitors with vertically-scaled three-dimensional porous current collectors made from nickel foams to improve microsupercapacitor performance. The pores in the foam work to increase the surface area.

“This three-dimensional porous architecture allows excellent electrolyte permeability, good conductivity and faster ion transportation with maximum mass-loading of active material, which increase energy and power density in a given area,” Alshareef said.

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Phys.OrgImproved microscale energy storage units for wearable and miniaturized electronic devices

What Energy Storage Policy Could Look Like Under President Trump

on November 22, 2016

energy storage greentech mediaDonald Trump’s campaign rhetoric showed no mercy for climate change policy, but there’s reason to believe energy storage will continue to flourish under his presidency.

It’s not clear that Trump himself thinks much about energy storage. There are few, if any, instances of him mentioning it specifically in public. The 2016 GOP party platform, though, promised that a Republican administration would “find new ways to store electricity, a breakthrough of extraordinary import.” That reference came in the context of grid modernization and resilience efforts.

It’s worth noting that, even under President Barack Obama’s diligent efforts to expand clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, federal energy storage policy is still virtually nonexistent. A bill to give storage an income tax credit like the one solar energy enjoys has been introduced in both houses of Congress, but hasn’t moved very far. When the White House hosted a storage summit this summer, it showcased a collection of ongoing efforts, but did not break much new ground.

The states that have largely driven the expansion of distributed energy resources through strong policy and regulatory action will continue to do so, and their ranks are growing. 

“There are a lot of opportunities that will now shift from a federal focus to a more distributed focus, no pun intended, with cities and states in particular,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), one of the most vocal proponents of energy storage on Capitol Hill.

Any industry would be remiss, though, to not seek greater representation in the policy agenda of an incoming administration. For energy storage, this likely means a pivot from messaging around decarbonization and renewables integration to a greater emphasis on the role of storage as infrastructure for a safer, more resilient grid. 

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GreenTech MediaWhat Energy Storage Policy Could Look Like Under President Trump

Flywheel energy storage device to be installed near Paris

on November 22, 2016

Electric-Light-and-PowerEDF and Stornetic have launched a joint project on advanced smart grid storage solutions. The project serves to assess the performance of flywheel energy storage technology facing the requirements of a modern grid environment.

As part of the collaboration, Stornetic is going to deliver a DuraStor Energy Storage device to EDF by June 2017, which will be installed at the EDF Concept Grid site in Moret-sur-Loing near Paris.

The development of variable renewables has raised a lot of new requirements to generation facilities and grid operators. “We believe that energy storage solutions will play a key role in the upcoming transformations of the electrical systems. Thanks to the unique EDF experimental facility of Concept Grid, we are able to reproduce real distribution networks and test innovative electrical equipment in fully controllable conditions of operation. Thus, as one of the promising storage solutions, we are very excited to assess the performances of the Stornetic technology regarding various applications such as renewables smoothing or frequency regulation” says Etienne Brière, Renewables and Storage Program Director at EDF’s R&D.

The DuraStor by Stornetic enables grid operators to transform electrical energy into rotation energy and store it. It is a durable solution, designed for more than 1,000,000 charging cycles and retains its full capacity over its complete lifetime. It combines the advantages of mechanical energy storage, such as sturdiness and endurance, with the advantages of modularity and rapid installation. The device operates purely mechanically – without the use of chemicals – and is made of materials that are fully recyclable.

“We are thrilled to see EDF having decided for our solution”, says Stornetic’s Director Olivier Marques-Borras. “We believe that our flywheel technology can make a real difference. It is ideal for customers with many charging and discharging cycles. This makes it highly interesting for operators of micro grids all around the globe. At the EDF Concept Grid site we are going to assess the advantages of our technology. We believe that flywheels will be part of the future of short term energy storage”

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Electric Light and PowerFlywheel energy storage device to be installed near Paris