Energy Storage Technology is a fast growing field of systems used to store and deliver electrical power at the time it is needed, outside the time and location of its generation. Globally, energy storage deployment in emerging markets is expected to increase by over 40% each year until 2025. Currently, utility-scale stationary batteries dominate global energy storage. But by 2030, small-scale battery storage is expected to significantly increase, complementing utility-scale applications.

These technologies include systems such as:-

    • Mechanical: compressed air energy storage, flywheel energy storage, hydraulic accumulator, etc…
    • Electrical: capacitors, superconducting magnetic energy storage 
    • Biological: glycogen, starch
    • Electrochemical: flow batteries, rechargeable batteries, supercapacitors, ultra batteries
    • Thermal: brick storage heaters, cryogenic liquid air or nitrogen, molten salt, etc…
    • Chemical: biofuels, hydrated salts, etc…

These technologies offer a method to improve both the stability of the grid and the efficiency at which power is delivered, while also helping to keep energy prices stable and minimise energy wastage.
Each day, the grid is powered by a series of ‘base load’ power plants that provide the energy required to meet the current load (current level of energy use). As load levels increase throughout the day, these power plants consume more fuel in order to meet the rising demand for additional power.

Some of the benefits of reliable energy storage systems:

    • Energy Management
    • Backup Power
    • Load Leveling
    • Frequency Regulation
    • Voltage Support
    • Grid Stabilization
    • Emergency Preparedness

The fluctuation in demand for power, in conjunction with fuel availability, can have a significant impact on the operational costs of energy producers. Since power producers cannot perfectly estimate the level of power they need to produce each day, they can end up making too much (since there’s nowhere to store it), or too little (leading to phenomenons like ‘rolling blackout’); each of which have financial consequences that means rising energy costs for consumers.

Stacking blocks to store energy

These are some of the methods currently being considered:-


Molten Salt Storage Technology
Novatec Solar recently commissioned a promising energy storage solution for solar PV systems using a molten salt storage technology. The process uses inorganic salts to transfer energy generated by solar PV systems into solar thermal using heat transfer fluid rather than oils as some storage systems have. The result is that solar plants can operate at temperatures over 500 degrees Celsius, which would result in a much higher power output. This means that costs to store solar would be lowered significantly and utility companies could finally use solar power plants as base load plants rather than to meet peak demand during prime daylight hours.

Solar Panel with Built-In Battery.
In a project funded by the United States Department of Energy, Ohio State University researchers announced that they had created a battery that is 20% more efficient and 25% cheaper than anything on the market today. The secret to the design is that the rechargeable battery is built into the solar panel itself, rather than operating as two standalone systems. By conjoining the two into one system, scientists said they could lower costs by 25% compared to existing products.


Gravitricity is a term used to describe the technology of vertically raising and lowering a heavy mass along an axis in the ground  – an ideal place being a disused mine shaft.

The U.K government has given a  £640,000 grant to funding one technology being developed in Edinburgh that uses the same  principle as the winding up mechanism on an old clock, as a way of harnessing and storing energy.

Based on the concept that what goes up must come down, scientists are developing apparatus and machinery which, using cables and winding gear, can hoist up individual weights totalling 12,000 tonnes of concrete which when released would create a large amount of kinetic energy. This would be harnessed to turbines which in turn would be connected to the Grid.

These concrete weights, stacked at the top of a mine shaft for example, could be released individually, in combination and at different speeds, depending on the energy requirement at the time. Estimates suggest that the output from one such mineshaft could power 63000 homes for an hour and the initial tests have been an encouraging success. The developers propose that the ideal locations for this technology would be in the many disused mine shafts around the world.

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