Making renewables work through energy storage and grid management #COP21

solar power plantIn order to deliver a low carbon economy, we must move away from our current low efficiency, high carbon energy system. Our new energy system must be much more efficient, and low carbon.

This will mean abandoning the linear system of large scale, centralised energy production from fossil fuels.

The replacement should be a non-linear system where electricity is produced at widely distributed sites, at various scales, using renewable sources of energy.

To meet base load power demand, this system will need to combine fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS), and other sources of energy – such as nuclear.

This future low carbon energy system can only work if the way we generate and consume energy becomes much more flexible, and is able to respond rapidly to external weather and price fluctuations.

Matching supply with demand, particularly when a significant proportion of electricity is being generated by intermittent renewable sources, such as wind and solar, will require energy storage.

Continue reading Making renewables work through energy storage and grid management #COP21

Zeolite makes for a better battery life (Day 291)

zeoliteEarlier this week, I blogged about zeolite and its potential use for a more efficient carbon capture process via adsorption.

And now it seems that applications of zeolite stretches even further – today’s blog focuses on the use of crystalline zeolite membranes to extend battery life for renewable power systems.

Smart grids, along with renewable solar and wind power systems, require affordable and efficient energy storage batteries. The reason for this is rather obvious – renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are intermittent.  Also, there is a need to balance supply and demand.

But the current high cost and short life span of storage batteries are preventing widespread market penetration and economic viability of these renewable systems.

Research led by Junhang Dong, professor of chemical engineering at the University of Cincinnati, US, addresses this issue twofold.

Continue reading Zeolite makes for a better battery life (Day 291)

When there’s just too much energy (Day 60)

green batteryIn some parts of the world, at certain times of the day, there’s just too much energy – and nowhere for it to go. It’s a problem more and more energy suppliers are likely to experience.

The problem is particularly acute in places like Hawaii. With no natural fossil fuels it has traditionally shipped oil and coal thousands of miles by sea at great cost. The result for Hawaii’s residents are electricity bills three times higher than mainland USA.

Continue reading When there’s just too much energy (Day 60)