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Alternative Energies
See other Alternative Energies Articles

Title: New energy storage plant could 'revolutionise' renewable sector
Source: The Guardian
URL Source: http://www.theguardian.com/environm ... revolutionise-renewable-sector
Published: Apr 9, 2015
Author: Arthur Neslen
Post Date: 2015-04-09 09:18:41 by Willie Green
Keywords: None
Views: 827
Comments: 3

Flywheel plant being built in Ireland with potentially unlimited storage capability could solve the problem of clean energy supply shortfalls when there is insufficient sun or wind

Foundations for an energy storage plant in Ireland that could “revolutionise” the integration of renewable power into electricity supplies will be laid within weeks.

The plant will use a motor-generated flywheel to harness kinetic energy from the grid at times of over-supply. This will then be released from submerged turbines at times of supply shortfalls.

The project in Rhode, County Offaly, is expected to launch commercially in 2017, with an operating capacity of 20MW.

Although the system will initially feed off all energy in the grid – clean and dirty alike – it has the potential to resolve the transmission system operators’ dilemma of how to store large amounts of energy created during windy or sunny conditions for instantaneous use when the weather changes.

At the moment, such energy shortfalls are compensated for with fossil fuel generators such as coal or gas-fired power plants, or by hydro pump storage. Unlike conventional coal and gas generators which have an efficiency ratio of 35-40%, the flywheel operates at upwards of 85-90% efficiency.

“The hybrid flywheel is a disruptive innovation with the potential to revolutionise the system services market, decoupling its provision from electricity generation by delivering energy-less system services,” Jake Bracken, a research manager for the Schwungrad Energie project, told the Guardian.

“In Ireland we have a 50% maximum limit on the amount of intermittent renewable energy that we can take on at any one point. But Eirgrid [the Irish transmissions systems operator] is looking at increasing it to 75% over the next decades and our system has the potential to facilitate that,” he said.

In flywheel plants, advanced carbon fibre tubes up to 3m high and 1m wide are floated on magnets inside a vacuum, and spun by electricity in a near frictionless environment, until power is needed back in the grid.

The technology’s impact will be keenly watched in Brussels, where the EU’s vice president for energy union, Maroš Šef ovi last week called for an overhaul of Europe’s last-century grid networks for a future in which they will carry data, products and services, as well as energy.

“Smart grids will do for us what shale gas did for the United States,” he told a Brussels conference. “Smart grids should become the EU’s shale as, if we had them today, we would need 30% less transmission capacity.”

The EU envisions a future in which grids become immediately responsive to consumer demand, allowing people to sell back surplus electricity from their solar panels or electric cars to the electricity network. This would singularly reduce the power of energy utilities, but would require investment now.

Currently, “you have many streets in the EU where, if you plugged in five electric cars at the same time, you would blackout the neighbourhood,” Šef ovi said. “We will soon be talking about many thousands of electric cars on our roads and for that we need to make sure our grids are smart, resilient and can handle new demands that are not here today.”

One of the Irish project’s co-designers, professor Noel Buckley of the University of Limerick, said that it would be able to match variable renewable energy supplies to consumer demand, whenever it arose.

“The grid is designed to run at 50 hertz and when there is an imbalance between supply and demand, the frequency starts to change,” he told the Guardian. “When wind goes down, generating capacity goes down, and even if the wind comes back up in a few minutes, you need to have some energy to put back into the grid in the short term.”

By using back-up flow batteries which store electricity in tanks in a liquid form, “you can scale up your power and storage capacities separately so that, in principle, the storage can be unlimited,” he added.

So far the technology has only been used on a limited basis in the US, but the Irish project is already attracting interest from national grids across Europe, which plan to increase their renewable energy penetration in the years ahead.

The flywheel project has received funding from the European Commission and the Irish government. It is expected to create 50 new jobs.


Poster Comment:

Hmmmm.... flywheels.... HIGH TECH flywheels....

DAMMIT... Now why didn't I think of that????

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#1. To: Willie Green (#0)

How much power to keep the system in operation? How much power is stored? How many plants to meet the continental needs of Europe?

It all sounds so good until you get down to an actual real-world application.

It is an intriguing idea fundamentally. I often thought over the years that you might use a massive conventional flywheel (circular flywheel made of lead or other undesirable metal) with a weight in the thousands of tons to store kinetic energy to drive generators.

These systems can't eliminate conventional generation but they can greatly reduce reliance on it as a primary energy source.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-04-09   10:16:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Willie Green (#0)

Hmmmm.... flywheels.... HIGH TECH flywheels....

That's one way to store excess renewable energy.

Here's another: Make Hydrogen. When the sun goes down and/or the wind stops- the stored H2 kicks in

Hydrogen Energy Storage: A New Solution To the Renewable Energy Intermittency Problem

Hydrogen gas has the largest energy content of any fuel, making it a very good ‘vehicle’ for holding and distributing energy. With the ability to hold 120MJ/kg, a relatively small amount of hydrogen is needed to store significant amounts of energy. The stable chemistry of hydrogen also means you can store energy longer than any other medium...snip

The Choice for Germany’s Growing Infrastructure

Over the last few years, hydrogen is being taken more seriously by the power industry, as a solution to making renewable energy grid ready. One of the biggest benefits of hydrogen energy storage is that it’s scalable. A 2-MW hydrogen electrolyzer is the size of a shipping container and can be easily installed next to a field of wind turbines or a distribution substation. We have our megawatt prototype modules being tested in our manufacturing facility today.

In Germany in particular, hydrogen energy storage is already beginning to be implemented into its growing renewable energy network. Hydrogen is being pumped into its grid, and sub-megawatt sized electrolyzers are already storing excess wind energy as hydrogen gas...


The ‘Wind2H2’ project uses electricity from wind turbines to produce and store hydrogen at the NREL's national wind technology center in Boulder, CO.

more: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/07/hydrogen-energy-storage-a-new-solution-to-the-renewable-energy-intermittency-problem

Energy Storage: A Different View from Germany

As Germans look to the future, Kaun notes that they have a broader definition of energy storage than in the United States. The U.S. definition of energy storage typically focuses on electric power in, electric power out – that is, electricity storage. In Germany’s definition is broader, characterized by three main categories: power to heat, power to gas (specifically hydrogen) and power to power, which can utilize a range of storage technologies, including electrochemical (batteries), mechanical or thermal.

In the first category, electric power is stored and converted to heat for direct use as heat in buildings, district heating or industrial processes. For power to gas, electricity is converted to hydrogen through an electrolysis process and then stored (with some challenges), combusted and used in fuel cell generators. It can also be further converted into natural gas or liquid transportation fuels. Power to power — or direct electricity storage — may be lagging, in part due to a historical lack of enthusiasm for electric cars in Germany when compared to the growing electric vehicle battery market in the U.S...snip

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2014/06/energy-storage-a-different-view-from-germany

Operation 40  posted on  2015-04-09   10:20:35 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Operation 40 (#2)

Not news to me. I've posted articles on adding hydrogen to LNG pipelines. This has been going on for several years.

Tooconservative  posted on  2015-04-09   11:04:44 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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