17th March - Valencia.
Thanks to technological advances, today’s smartphones are also TVs, books, organizers, heart rate monitors. Electricity is what powers all of these features, but without batteries, we’d be continually stuck next to a socket.
Electricity is the lifeblood of each system and more. Businesses, cities, and households, without batteries, would not be functional in an effective and durable way, leading us to waste energy, at higher costs while damaging the environment.
Having batteries as the power source and storage component means that technological devices can be effective on the move. Now new types of portable energy storage systems are set to offset climate change, foster the development of renewable sources, work to decarbonize the economy and even deliver lower costs for businesses and households, changing lives and technology forever.
The advantages of Energy Storage
Energy storage is a critical hub for the entire power grid, augmenting resources from wind, solar and hydro, to nuclear and fossil fuels, to demand side resources and system efficiency assets. By introducing more flexibility into the grid, energy storage can help integrate more renewable and distributed energy resources. It can also improve the efficiency of the grid – increasing the capacity factor of existing resources – and offset the need for building new pollution-emitting peak power plants.
Storage can save consumers money, improve reliability and resilience, integrate generation sources, and help reduce environmental impacts.
Ultimately, It can smooth out the delivery of variable or intermittent resources such as wind and solar, by storing excess energy when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining, and delivering it when the opposite is happening. When demand changes quickly, and flexibility is required, energy storage can inject or extract electricity as needed to exactly match load – wherever, and whenever it’s needed.
The growing popularity of portable clean energy
To deliver electricity on demand for when connecting to the grid isn’t possible, the use of battery powered portable power supplies and generators are rapidly growing in popularity. Since 2018, the release of a Clean Air Strategy, has meant many nations have outlined actions to improve air quality. Coupled with changing public attitude and low emission zones in towns and cities around the world, there is now a demand for portable clean energy.
By 2032, renewables will overtake conventional power sources, making them the fastest-growing energy source globally. Ambitious policy goals target 100% renewable power generation. The energy storage market is rapidly evolving to support these goals and it has a crucial role to play in helping to make these ambitions a reality. Meanwhile, the electric vehicle (EV) sector is driving innovation in energy storage power systems through developing autonomous battery technology.
Portable renewable storage systems
Portable renewable energy storage systems are standalone devices using renewable energy sources like solar or wind power that can be brought in from off-site and operated independently from a larger energy grid. Unlike a portable gas generator, these systems require no external fuel, saving costs, weight load and cargo space.
They are indispensable in a disaster scenario. Mobile photovoltaic systems can be taken to remote sites or other sites where temporary sources of power are needed. They can be mounted onto carts or trailers and hauled to the site where it’s needed and used to power hospitals and triage shelters, campsites, kitchens or just about any other facility in need of energy.
Standalone systems are a cost-efficient alternative to fossil fuel generators for permanent homes and commercial spaces in remote or rural areas where running electrical lines out from a central power supply grid can be expensive and impractical.
Standalone portable renewable energy systems are better suited as longer-term measures in remote areas, providing energy provision for homes, businesses, telecommunications stations, agricultural equipment and more. These systems, while small, can power important emergency essentials like communication devices, computers, medical devices, mobile lighting etc. Solar and wind energy can be built into dedicated stand-alone devices such as water filtration tanks.
Decoupling of Energy and Power in Renewables
Energy storage gives power systems the ability to store and shift wind and solar power that would otherwise dispatch according to the weather, rather than our demands for power.
In a recent keynote at PCIM Europe, Dr. Elasser highlights four things that are disrupting the power sector and driving technological developments in the arena of energy storage.
The use of renewable energy enables power supply to be decoupled from unpredictable weather patterns and helps power providers to make sure that systems can be balanced on a second-by-second basis, so that electricity use exactly matches what’s been generated by the grid in a stable manner.
Advances in other alternative means of Energy Storage
Most of the current advances in Portable Energy Storage Systems are being linked to steps forward in Battery research, particularly away from Lithium-ion technology. Key developments are enabling researchers to achieve transformative performance spanning energy and power density, cost, lifetime, charge/discharge times, and capacity.
Companies like Hitachi are looking at the niche to invest and develop new portable energy systems. Their product CrystEna is a storage system that uses a 1 Megawatt lithium-ion battery, it is quite portable but has potential for long-term use because of its extended battery life. Moreover, it is expected to enhance marketability of renewable energy.
Much of the development and focus will go hand in hand with major advances in Electric Vehicle (EV) innovation in providing smaller, lighter and more powerful batteries that can extend journey time.
Advances are also being made in alternative processes such as Geothermal Storage which is utilising solar energy, in the form of heat stored in the earth and can be used in pre- heating.
Hydrogen storage is another promising storage methodology which has a versatility and capacity for storing renewable energy. As we use more electricity overall and as the deployment of renewables increases, we should expect hydrogen to take a leading role, rather than the marginal role it now occupies. Hydrogen storage can work on both the small and large scale, storing energy locally but also capable of distribution through international supply networks.
Seeking Energy Engineering Talent
As a result of the increased focus on climate change, use of renewables and the ongoing developments in EVs, the sector is looking for new types of skills to advance Energy storage applications. At Tesla, for instance they have an Energy Projects team of engineers to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy through the deployment of energy storage products.
With a host of new applications for portable energy storage systems on the way, the right type of skills will be at a premium, requiring experts to find an exact match. CIS have been providing the right type of engineering resource to the Energy market for over 20 years having cut its teeth in the first smartphone and solar sectors.