Energy storage involvesincarceration of energy that is generated at an instance and later making it available later for use. There are a variety of different forms of energy that includes radiation, electricity, chemical, kinetic energy, and the latent heat. During storage, energy is converted from states that are impossible to store in forms that are convenient and economical for storage and consumption (Fallahi et al.). In other cases, storage of great deals of bulk energy is done by use of pumped hydro. The latter accounts for approximately 99% of global energy storage. There are various types of energy storage. Chemical energy storage includes hydrated salts, hydrogen storage, hydrogen storage, and power to gas energy storage. Electrical energy storage types include the capacitor, super capacitor, and magnetic storage. There are various technologies that store energy on short-lived basis while other developments provide long-lasting energy storage capacities.
In a research by Andreas Helwig and Tony Ahfock in 2015 on the Australian energy industry, the article’s findings indicated that there were little incentives by the government to come up with dynamic energy storage technologies. Consequently, the costs of living and day tariffs were very high on typical Australian nationals. The history of energy storage dates back to the twentieth century. During this period, the generation of grid electrical power depended upon the volumes of fossil fuel burnt. In a case where a little amount of power was required, less fuel was decomposed. However, throughout the century, numerous concerns were raised regarding air pollution, imports of energy, and global warming. The latter had significantly influenced the manner in which renewable forms of energy such as solar and wind power energy were used and their global rate of growth. Use of off-grid electricity was predominant in the twentieth century but has expanded even greater in the twenty-first century (Fallahi et al.). Portable gadgets such as solar panels are widely used in the rural areas and as backups for electricity breakdowns. Significant issues of energy storage include system integration, technologies in storage, management strategies, and recent developments in the storage of energy.
System Integration in Energy Storage
Energy storage usually operates on a system integration program which aims at ensuring that distributed power is safe, reliable, and cost effective. Additionally, it functions to address challenges of grid performance, dispatchability, power electronics, and communication.
Grid Performance: System integration ensures that there are efficient enhancement and reliability in transmission of energy across all distribution points (Munson, 34).
Dispatchability: Energy should always be available at any time to meet demand. Besides, it should be made accessible in adequate amounts to any place it is required.
Power Electronics: Integration aims at generating intelligent devices that optimize power output and ensure the entire performance of the system regarding safety, reliability, and workability at minimal costs.
Communications: During integration of energy storage systems, infrastructure should be created and used to inform, evaluate, and regulate the generation, distribution, and consumption of energy both on temporal and spatial scales.
Energy Storage Technologies: Their Settings and How They Function
Electricity stability is achieved by use of different energy storage technologies that work at various stages throughout the generation, storage, and consumption grid.
Thermal Storage: Thermal storage is significant in the production of electricity from sun power even in instances where sunshine strength is limited. In storage of this energy, solar plants are concentrated to capture heat and energy is stored in water, salts, and other molten forms (Munson, 35). Later, the stored energy is used to generate electricity. The technology has been widely employed in California and Nevada.
Compressed Air: Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) uses flexible, compressed air to store energy. The technology helps to improve the efficiency of gas turbines. Use of electricity does compression of air during the peak stages, and later, this compressed air is stored in caverns below the earth’s surface. Huntorf and Alabama are places where the technology has been successfully adopted to save energy (Gordon and Bennett).
Hydrogen: Hydrogen has zero levels of carbon fuels. Therefore, maximum power is generated using the element and later stored in fuel cells, gas turbines, and engines. The technology is necessary because there is no release of toxic emissions that mostly result from carbon release into the atmosphere. Hydrogen can be generated from wind power and be stored in the turbines for generation of electricity when the turbines are at rest (Pearre and Swan).
Pumped Hydroelectric Storage: The technology offers a mechanism for storing energy during the transmission phase. There are two reservoirs in hydroelectric power plants which occur at various elevations. The plant pumps water into the upper reservoir when the demand falls below supply. Once the demand exceeds supply, water that had initially been pumped is released into the lower reservoir, consequently generating electricity (Pearre and Swan). However, a project operating by use of this technology faces relatively high operational costs of pumped storage.
Flywheels: Flywheels provide a broad range of benefits at transmission and distribution stages through storage of energy in the form of a rotating mass. The device takes the shape of a cylinder and has a large rotor placed in a vacuum. Once the flywheels obtain power from the set grid, the rotor acquires greater momentum and its acceleration increases, consequently storing the energy in the form of rotational energy. The rotor then slows down, discharging the energy stored and electricity is retained back to the grid. The advantages of this technology are that flywheels require little maintenance, have a high response and efficiency rates, and offer long lasting service (Gordon and Bennett).
Management Strategies in Energy Storage
In dealing with energy storage capabilities, two important management strategies are addressed. First, there is the implementation of a constant and more reliable power production. Maintaining persistent energy storage is dictated by how well the industry will provide continuity in production and reprocessing of renewable energy. Second, a firm is liable to keep a low frequency of fluctuations throughout production. In accomplishing modalities in power generation and storage, the energy industry establishes unwavering and more static regulations regarding pricing, fines, and terms of consumption of energy across all consumers (Pearre and Swan).
Nuclear Wastes, Reprocessing, Handling, and Long-term Storage
Nuclear reprocessing: The technology was developed to chemically isolate and recover disintegrated plutonium from illuminated nuclear fuel. Reprocessing was initially applied to extract plutonium extracts during the production of weapons. However, with increasing commercialization, these plutonium extracts have been used as fuels in thermal reactions (Yudintsev et al., 55).
Handling: Disposing nuclear wastes comprises of three essential options. Firstly, there is direct disposal that proceeds storage. Nuclear wastes are disposed to a geological mine, and they take hundreds of years to undergo radioactivity. Secondly, handling involves aqueous reprocessing to extract only plutonium and uranium. It takes approximately 9000 years for these materials to reach radiation equivalent to that in the original core. Lastly, advanced reprocessing is conducted to allow for recycling of wastes in a fast reactor. In general, nuclear reprocessing reduces wastes, but neither reduces radioactivity nor heat production. Reprocessing has faced political pressures in many developed countries because it is perceived to contribute to nuclear propagation and terrorism (Yudintsev et al., 57).
Long-term storage: In management and storage of radioactive wastes, above ground storage method is recommended. Storage takes place in traditional stores which require replacement of waste every 200 years and in permanent or monolith stores that remain intact for thousands of years (Yudintsev et al.). In 1991, France passed a law commonly known as ‘Bataille Act’ that ensured all nuclear wastes are safely stored and managed, and more specifically, through above ground storage. In a case study conducted by Michael Sailer, director of Oeko Institute in Germany, findings illustrated that long-term storage of nuclear wastes received a positive response from the people because they feared a scenario where the wastes are stored all over their backyards.
Recent Developments in Energy Storage
Hydrogen storage: There have been a few advancements in hydrogen storage resulting in an enormous shift in the way people use various forms of energy. First, the adoption of Boron, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen compounds has seen tremendous success in hydrogen storage (Bromley). Additionally, there has been a clear understanding by experts on the chemistry underlying the use of boron. The interactions between molecules of hydrogen have been used as a key indicator to boost the potential of energy storage by use of these elements. The BNH integration has drawn interests from many energy processing firms due to efficiency in synthesis and cost-effectiveness as compared to other forms of energy storage (Graetz and Hauback).
Emission controls: Use of various advancements has improved control of pollution that results from emission materials and by-products in the processing of energy. First, there has been a reduction in the particulates present during fuel combustion. Recently, the use of oxides of sulfur and nitrogen has been regulated by use of filters to reduce the number of toxic gasses released into the atmosphere. Consequently, the formation of scum and corrosion of metallic equipment have been reduced. Besides, the amounts of acidic rains that results from the reaction of water with these oxides have declined.
Secondly, recent developments for the use of wet and dry scrubbers have offered solutions to global warming and climate change. These advancements function as control systems by regulating amounts of contaminated fossils that gets into natural ecosystems including water bodies and soils (Bromley, 88). Consequently, there has been less poisoning of the environment, since these scrubbers act as insulation systems against ecosystem-fossil contacts.
Lastly, the adoption of fabric filters, catalytic reducers, and electrostatic precipitators have recorded an achievement in handling destructive by-products in an eco-friendly situation with the aim to reduce back drains into unintended environments. Recently, use of electrostatic precipitators have enabled detoxification of insoluble products of fossil storage. Moreover, fabric filters and catalytic reducers have been improvised to reduce the rates of chemical reaction between elements throughout the processing of fuels and energy storage.
Photovoltaic cells: Various experts in the United Kingdom have collaborated to come up with the spray coating strategy. The technique has been employed for use in painting motor vehicles, and in the manufacturing of solar panels (Bromley, 85). Professor David Lidzey from Sheffield University conducted research on photovoltaic cells, and his findings illustrated that solar panels perform better than other cells once they are spray coated. He concluded that spray coating techniques would make it possible to scale manufacturing and is more reliable than the use of traditional methods. Another study by Yale University engineers has led to latest developments in photovoltaic cells that involves a combination of carbon nanotubes with conventional silicon substances. The advancement includes laying thin carbon films into crystalline silicon to come up with a new improved hybrid of carbon-silicon solar energy storage cells. Carbon nanotubes have since then been used to store energy efficiently and are cheap to make (Gordon and Bennett).
Conclusively, many renewable energy technologies such as solar and the wind have adjustable productivities. Energy storage is merited upon its speed to respond rapidly. However, there are a few barriers that may adversely impact on commercialization of these technologies. Without proper policies on exact values of energy storage, the whole exercise is expensive. Additionally, storage is not acquitted with sufficient track records of large scale projects. The latter makes it impossible to adequately implement a reliable commercial investment.Despite these likely challenges, programs and policies on energy storage regulation and consumption would act as drivers of excellent storage technologies and developments
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Gordon, Lee, and Michael Bennett.”Legal Implications for Renewable Energy Storage Projects.” Renewable Energy Focus, vol 17, no. 1, 2016, pp. 46-48. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.ref.2015.11.006. The article highlighted the impacts of energy storage on large-scale commercial projects.
Graetz, Jason, and Bjørn C. Hauback.”Recent Developments in Aluminum-Based Hydrides for Hydrogen Storage.” MRS Bulletin, vol 38, no. 06, 2013, pp. 473-479. Cambridge University Press (CUP), doi:10.1557/mrs.2013.107. This article provided further information on hydrogen storage that had not been provided in the first reference.
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Pearre, Nathaniel S., and Lukas G. Swan. “Technoeconomic Feasibility of Grid Storage: Mapping Electrical Services and Energy Storage Technologies.” Applied Energy, vol 137, 2015, pp. 501-510. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.04.050. This article highlighted with insight, grid storage that was not fully covered in other references.
Yudintsev, S. V. et al. “A Pyrochlore-Based Matrix for Isolation of the REE-Actinide Fraction of Wastes from Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing.” Doklady Earth Sciences, vol 454, no. 1, 2014, pp. 54-58. Pleiades Publishing Ltd, doi:10.1134/s1028334x14010152.This journal discussed nuclear waste reprocessing, its advantages and disadvantages in developed countries.