Year in review: advancing research on energy storage and conversion

As communities across the country invest in renewable energy technologies, energy storage systems must be optimized to meet the demand for power generation, decarbonization, grid resilience and energy efficiency. . The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is focused on developing and accelerating the implementation of future holistic energy systems with goal-driven, interconnected technologies that improve flexibility and balance to maximize production, storage and the conversion of renewable energy. Over the past year, NREL researchers have pioneered innovative, interdisciplinary and integrated research and development for technological advancements in electrochemical, molecular, thermal and mechanical energy storage systems.

Thanks to NREL’s groundbreaking energy storage research, R&D world The magazine recognized the Wave Energy Converter Simulator (WEC-Sim) as one of the 100 most innovative technologies of last year with an R&D 100 Award. WEC-Sim is the first open source code for wave power developers to simulate the dynamics and performance of WEC – dramatically reducing the uncertainty of how WECs will perform in real marine environments – reducing costs and the R&D cycle time in this crucial and growing area. domain.

Research reveals opportunities in integrated energy storage

New NREL report details the current state and vast future potential of geothermal energy and heat in the United States

The 2021 United States Geothermal Power Generation and District Heating Market report developed at NREL presents the current state of geothermal energy use in the United States and identifies geothermal opportunities for a system renewable and carbon-free energy. Innovative approaches to geothermal district heating involve the integration of heat pump technology and thermal energy storage, as well as the implementation and optimization of energy districts. This report will be of value to policy makers, regulators, developers, researchers, engineers, financiers and other decision makers.

Particulate thermal energy storage systems can be built with the existing infrastructure of decommissioned coal and gas-fired power plants. Image by Jeffrey Gifford and Patrick Davenport, NREL

NREL Offers Modular, Cost-Effective, Build-Any-Any-Any-Any-Any-Anywhere Thermal Energy Storage Technology

NREL researchers have developed a prototype to test a revolutionary new thermal energy storage technology using inexpensive silica sand as a storage medium. Long-lasting economical electricity storage using low cost thermal energy storage and high efficiency power cycle (ENDURING) is a reliable, cost effective and scalable solution that can be installed anywhere. The basic system is designed for the economical storage of up to 26,000 MWh of thermal energy, providing possibilities for heating buildings and industrial processes to replace coal or natural gas. NREL has partnered with Babcock & Wilcox, which has an exclusive intellectual property option agreement to license this SUSTAINABLE thermal energy storage technology.

New financial analysis tool for long-term energy storage in highly carbon-free networks

NREL researchers have developed a rigorous new Storage Financial Analysis Scenario Tool (StoreFAST) model to identify potential long-term storage opportunities as part of a future power grid with 85% penetration of renewable energies. StoreFAST analyzes both energy storage systems and flexible power generation systems side by side to provide information on the discounted cost of energy, financial performance parameters and time series graphs that will be essential for integrated energy storage research. A recent article by Joule used StoreFAST to identify clean hydrogen systems with geological storage and natural gas with carbon capture and sequestration as the cheapest options for long durations of energy storage.

About 2,500 dams across the United States generate electricity. Seen here is Gross Reservoir Dam in Colorado. Photo courtesy of Brent Olson, US Department of Energy

NREL develops FLASH hydroelectric framework for a greener network

The new FLASH (Framework for Linked Analysis of Streamflow and Hydropower) tool provides information on how much hydropower is available and when, thus improving the representation of hydropower in grid operating models. FLASH will help users better understand the link between river basin operations and hydropower availability, opening up new opportunities for renewables to support the grid. Unlike wind or solar power, hydropower not used today can be stored for later use and has the added benefit of not having to be converted to another form of energy. This makes hydropower ideal for helping the grid accommodate variable renewable energy sources.

NREL’s Advances in Battery Research with Physics-Based Machine Learning Accelerate Characterization of Cell Performance, Lifespan and Safety

Energy storage scientists at NREL are turning to cutting-edge machine learning techniques to strengthen their understanding of advanced battery materials, chemistry, and cell designs. These complex computer algorithms help accelerate the characterization of battery performance, life, and safety by providing information about potential patterns within data sets. Researchers use machine learning and artificial intelligence to assess build quality, life and performance, materials research and safety protocols for energy storage applications.

The Future of Storage Study examines when and where a range of storage technologies compete in cost, depending on how they are operated and the services they provide to the network.

Network-wide storage capacity in the United States could increase fivefold by 2050

The Future of Storage Study examines when and where a range of storage technologies compete in cost, depending on how they are operated and the services they provide to the network.

Ongoing research from the NREL Storage Futures Study analyzes the potentially fundamental role of energy storage in sustaining a resilient and flexible power grid through 2050. NREL researchers are collaborating between technologies to examine the role of energy storage. ‘specific storage approaches. A report, Economic potential of daytime storage in the US electricity sector, described the significant market potential for large-scale daytime storage (up to 12 hours) in the US power system through 2050. The research team — Will Frazier, Wesley Cole, Paul Denholm, Scott Machen , Nathaniel Gates and Nate Blair — found storage adds the most value to the grid, and deployment increases when the power system allows storage to provide multiple grid services simultaneously and when there is greater solar PV penetration.

Learn more about NREL’s research on energy storage.


Conversations on the transformation of energy storage

This integrated approach to energy storage signifies a movement to identify synergies within various conversion and storage solutions. A new series of seminars hosted by NREL is advancing the discussion between government, industry and academia on how hybrid systems and collaborative research will achieve clean energy goals. Register now.


Article courtesy of National Laboratory of Renewable Energies.

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