The Energy Storage Colloquy

A review of several groundbreaking events in the Energy Storage Industry

by Andrew Crossland, Dufresne Research Analyst

Personally, I think that two factors need to be overcome to allow storage to achieve the market size that we read about so often. Firstly, the market needs to be created for storage- whether that is from growth in renewables or a transition to electric vehicles. Secondly, the technologies need to be proven. There are a multitude of ideas and technologies in the market or sat in university research laboratories- but of course these will only be proven when and if they are adopted.

It is very difficult to say when these two factors will merge.

I would however like to highlight some of the technology developments that caught my attention over the past few weeks. Harvard University engineers have announced a promising looking flow battery technology that uses organic modules which, according to the inventors, are more affordable and could provide higher power density and efficiency (read more).  One also cannot ignore the investment made by a number of investors (including no less than Bill Gates) into Lightsail Energy. I personally think that the flexibility and simplicity of this storage technology means that it can be applied in a large number of applications- much more so than other technologies (read more).

A major announcement in the energy storage field was the establishment of the “Joint Center for Energy Storage Research” (JCESR) to link national laboratories, universities and private firms in the USA. This to me seems a major investment ($120million) and reaffirms the Obama administration’s desire change the energy mix. A video introduction can be found here– and it will be interesting to see if any new innovation comes out of this.

On a smaller, but no less significant scale, the UK regulator has announced support for a new storage demonstration in Bedforshire that will see a 10MWh Lithium-ion battery being installed on the MV network. This will be a practical demonstration of energy storage to defer investment in network reinforcement and may prove a long discussed revenue stream for storage (read more).

And finally, for those new to storage, a good place to start is with the five tools on this website (http://www.dnvkemautilityfuture.com/five-key-tools-for-energy-storage) which give information on technologies, projects and applications. Something which the US military might find useful- I found out this week that they are the largest consumer of energy in the world, with an annual bill in excess of $21billion! 

If you want to know more about this and other topics directly from end users of energy storage technologies join us at one of these annual events: The Energy Storage World Forum (Grid Scale Applications), or The Residential Energy Storage Forum, or one of our Training Courses.

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