What is Energy Storage?
Energy storage is a combination of engineering methods for storing various forms of energy. Power plants produce and generate electricity, in real-time, to meet the demand of consumers. This energy is being continuously produced and is not stored. As a result, during peak hours, the load on electric grids are high. Energy storage allows a low-cost power generator to store electricity for later use to meet electricity demand at peak hours. This flexibility has the potential to revolutionize many setbacks that power generation systems face.
METCO Engineering supports two types of energy storage:
- Thermal Energy Storage (TES)
- Electrical Energy Storage (EES)
How is Energy Stored?
The principle behind any energy storage method is the same - to store energy at off-peak hours in order to be able to utilize it during full load intervals.
Thermal energy (TES) can be stored long-term and also for shorter durations, depending on the application type. TES is suitable for both small and large-scale facilities, from operating buildings to powering up towns.
The following components make up a TES setup:
- Building cooling coils
- Storage tank
Thermal energy is produced during low peak hours and is collected in the thermal energy storage tank. During high-peak intervals, the water is withdrawn to be distributed to the facility. Diffusers, which are located at the bottom of the tank, aid in the passage of warm and chilled water as it enters and exits the tank. Diffusers also eliminate turbulence in the water flow.
Storage methods for electrical energy vary, depending on factors such as the amount of energy needed to be stored, storage duration and how quickly energy required is released. METCO supports rechargeable batteries as a viable form of EES. Batteries like Sodium Sulfur (NaS), lithium ion, and flow batteries can be used for large-scale rechargeable EES. These batteries are useful for both power quality, and load leveling by providing electricity during peak demand. There are 950 MW of U.S Department of Energy verified commercial battery projects in operation installed worldwide.
Benefits of Energy Storage
Energy storage ensures power resilience during an outage.
Using stored energy is low cost when you go off the grid.
Integration with renewables
Storage options can be integrated with renewables, wind or solar, to enable them to produce electricity in all circumstances.
Energy reservoirs make it possible to deploy renewables on large-scale facilities.