Battery storage is the fastest-growing industry sector on the planet (which could save the planet)

 

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Billions of dollars are being invested worldwide in the developing battery boom, involving research into storage techniques to use the growing surpluses of cheap renewable energy now becoming available. Recent developments in batteries are set to sweep aside the old arguments about renewables being intermittent, dismissing any need to continue building nuclear power plants and burning fossil fuels to act as a back-up when the wind does not blow, or the sun does not shine.

Batteries as large as the average family house and controlled by digital technology are being positioned across electricity networks. They are being charged when electricity is in surplus and therefore cheap, and the power they store is resold to the grid at a higher price during peak periods.

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Battery idea: Hydroelectric pumped storage, but with bricks

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Company called Energy Vault has an agreement to build a pilot tower in India in 2019.

A mock-up of what Energy Vault’s tower looks like.

Energy Vault

A company called Energy Vault has proposed a new utility-scale battery that is both old and new at the same time. The “battery” is mechanical, rather than chemical, and stores energy much like pumped hydro does, but it does it with bricks.

If you’re not familiar with pumped hydro, it works like this. The system pumps water from a lower elevation to a higher elevation when electricity is plentiful and cheap. When electricity becomes more expensive, operators release that water through a hydroelectric turbine to give the grid some extra juice. Similarly, Energy Vault wants to build a system of six cranes, which will electrically stack heavy bricks into a tower when electricity is cheap and plentiful. When electricity becomes more scarce and expensive, the cranes will release each brick and harvest the energy from their fall.

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Pioneering ‘liquid air’ project can help store excess electricity

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A pioneering project in north-west England will turn air into liquid for energy storage to help electricity grids cope with a growing amount of wind and solar power.

The world’s first full-scale “liquid air” plant is based on a technology that advocates say is cheaper and able to provide power for longer periods than lithium-ion batteries.

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Nissan’s used Leaf batteries to be incorporated into home energy storage

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Nissan is following in the footsteps of Tesla and Mercedes-Benz. They are now set to become the latest automaker to offer battery packs for stationary energy storage. Although pricing information has yet to be provided, the Nissan product should be relatively affordable, as it will incorporate used batteries from Nissan Leaf electric cars.

 

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The next big challenge for energy storage

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Solar is now the fastest growing segment in the energy business in the U.S.

The energy storage era is upon us. States like California and New York have adapted energy policies that will make it possible to economically deploy storage systems, while technology advancements have boosted performance and trimmed costs. For the first time in history it will become feasible to store electric energy.

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Can we achieve a smoother, more secure grid with energy storage?

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Storing energy along the U.S. grid could help keep the power on.

For years, RenewableEnergyWorld.com has said that if the energy industry could solve the energy storage problem, it would unlock gigawatts of renewable energy capacity all over the world.  About a year ago, progress started really picking up.  More than 200 energy storage companies were present at Intersolar in Munich in 2013, exhibiting their solutions.

 

 

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Top 5 most disruptive technologies of 2012

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The top five most disruptive technologies in 2012 include energy storage technology no one thought would ever work, gesture-based interfaces that will make touch screens look as quaint as floppy disks, and computers and connectivity so cheap they’re adding billions more people to the internet. For a technology to make it onto this list, it didn’t have to be invented in 2012; in many cases, it’s enough that there was a significant development this year in its journey toward rewriting our relationship with machines and each other.

 

 

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