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Electricity and Energy Storage for Renewable Energy

written by: Er Ashutosh Kumar Gupta • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 12/17/2010

Electricity or energy storage in bulk quantity may be done by a pumped storage hydro power plant. Used mines filled with water may be used. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind may be used to pump water, and stored water's gravitational energy may be utilized during peak hours.

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    Electricity and Energy Storage - Introduction

    Electricity or energy storage is a great challenge and the need of the hour without which we can’t utilize renewable energy source such as solar or wind power, which are environmentally friendly clean forms of energy. Intermittent renewable sources of power may be utilized effectively by storing electricity in huge quantity.

    Capacitors and lead-acid batteries are commonly used devices for energy storage, but the same may be useful for only small storage. Research, innovative ideas and invention are urgently required for storing electricity in huge quantity so that clean, green and environmentally friendly electricity may replace our thermal and nuclear power plants, which are creating pollution and may create ecological problems in the near future. There are many innovations already in the developmental stage which are stated below for the storage of electricity.

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    Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage

    Superconducting magnetic energy storage systems store energy in the magnetic field created by the flow of direct current in a superconducting coil. This advanced systems store energy within a magnet and release it within a fraction of a cycle.

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    Super capacitors and Ultra capacitors for Energy Storage

    Super capacitors and Ultra capacitors are the new super battery for energy storage. Super capacitors will supply power to the system when there are surges.

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    Compressed Air Energy Storage Power Plant

    Energy from solar or wind and even electricity from thermal power plant during off-peak period may be utilized to compress air by compressor and same air may be utilized to produce electricity during peak-hour. Compressed air energy storage is done in underground caverns and abandoned mines.

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    Fuel Cell

    A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts a source fuel (from combustible substances such as hydrogen, methane, propane, and methanol) into an electric current.

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    Pumped Storage Hydro Power Plant

    A pumped storage hydro power plant may store huge energy by pumping water from a lower reservoir to a higher pond. In a pumped storage hydro plant, we usually make the height of the reservoir equal to a small hill and at bottom a cavity is made so that water may not run away downward.

    Water is pumped during off-peak times and may be utilized to generate electricity. Other innovations may store electricity in small quantity but pumped storage hydro power plant may store electricity in Megawatts (MW) or even Gigawatts (GW).

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    Image: Diagram of a Pumped Storage Hydro Power Plant

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    Other Energy Storage Storing Devices

    Synthetic and natural zeolite to store solar energy, ammonia energy storage power plant, flywheel energy storage power plant, molten salt solar energy storage, and making ice during the night and using it for cooling buildings during day give us hope because research and invention in every part of globe is being done vigorously but for storing energy in huge quantity. There is a feasible solution right now, and it's pumped storage power plants.

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    Ocean water, river water even used mines filled with water may also be utilized to pump to high elevation by building the reservoir at height approximately 500 to 700 meter by reversible pump-turbine and motor-generator set and potential energy of water may be utilized during peak hours. The combined efficiency of the pump-turbine may be higher than 70%. Electricity purchased for pumping during the night or weekend at negligible prices may be sold at very high prices to generate huge profits. Management and stability of the grid may be ensured, and fluctuation in voltage and frequency may be minimized through these methods.

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    Elated Hydro Power Plants

    Some old hydroelectric power plants that are running at base load may be utilized in a better way by the addition of generating capacity. Stored water energy may be utilized during peak-hour when the cost of electricity is more. Compared to construction of new power plants, negligible capital cost is needed. Pumping loss which may be more than 25% in pumped hydro power plants may be completely avoided. These type hydro power plants may be termed “elated hydropower plants." They are useful for the stability of the grid as well as a most profitable business idea to generate huge profits by selling electricity at peak hour at very higher rates.

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    Renewable energy, which is being termed clean energy, may be utilized in an effective manner only by storing the electricity or energy, so innovation is need of the hour. Scientists and engineers are requested to provide their innovative ideas in the field of storage of electricity so that utilization of renewable energy may be done in effective manner.


    1.Electricity Storage Association

    2. Energy storage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

    3.Energy Storage Council - A group of industries and developers to advocate and facilitate the deployment of energy storage technologies

    4. Bright Hub, Inc. - The Difference between Renewable and Sustainable Energy