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Energy Storage Systems

Why it is needed

It permit solar energy to be captured when insolation is highest

and then later used when the need is the greatest. So, Energy is
stored to use it at a different time than when it was generated.

Make it possible to deliver electrical load power demand during

times when insolation is below normal or non-existent.

Improve reliability of solar thermal as well as solar electric system

There are four primary ways

to store solar thermal energy:

Sensible-heat-storage systems, which store thermal

energy in materials (without any change in phase)
which having good heat-retention qualities.

Latent-heat-storage systems, which store solar thermal

energy in the latent heat of fusion or vaporization of
certain materials undergoing a change of phase.

Chemical energy storage, which uses reversible

reactions (for example, the dissociation-association
reaction of sulfuric acid and water).

Electrical or mechanical storage, particularly through

the use of storage batteries (electrical) or compressed
air (mechanical) Energy storage.

The materials generally used in sensible heat storage with air as the energy
transport mechanism e.g. water, rock, gravel, (or crushed stone), iron shot,
Refractory material (magnesium oxide & aluminium oxide) and silicon oxide
in a bin has the advantage of providing a large, cheap heat transfer surface.
Among of them, Rocks are widely used as:

Rock is more easily contained than water.

Rock acts as its own heat exchanger
It can be used for thermal storage at high temperatures, much higher than
The heat transfer coefficients between the air and solid is high.
The cost of storage material is low.
The conductivity of the bed is low when air flow is not present.
Pebble bed exchanger have good heat transfer characteristics
between air and the solids of the bed. This type of storage system
has been used in the solar houses or with hot air collector system.

Latent heat is the energy absorbed or released when a substance


Latent heat is absorbed upon evaporation and released upon

condensation to liquid (as in clouds).
Latent heat is also absorbed when water melts, and released when it
Materials that undergo a change of phase e.g., Glaubers salt
(Na2SO4 . 10 H2O), Fe(NO3 )2. 6 H2O, water, salt Eutectics etc.

Mechanical Energy Storage

Fly Wheels

electromechanical device that
couples a motor generator
with a rotating mass to store
energy for short durations. It
is driven by an electric motor
during off peak hours stores
energy as its speed

The rotation of flywheel can


The same machine

both a motor, when
is supplied and as a
when the armature
by the flywheel.

serves as
is rotated
Active Power, Inc.

Mechanical Energy Storage

Fly Wheels

Principle: Energy is stored

in the form of Mechanical

Flywheels constructed from

light weight material (like
carbon fiber materials) and
magnetic bearings can spin
in vacuum at speeds up to
40,000 to 60,000 RPM.

Energy density
=0.05MJ/Kg, =0.8

The Energy Density is defined as the

Energy per unit mass:

E 1 2
m 2

V is the circular velocity of the flywheel
is the specific strength of a material
is the density of the material

Properties of some materials used for building flywheels.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Very compact when compared to other energy

storage systems.

Flywheels are used for starting and braking


A flywheel is preferred due to light weight and high

energy capacity.

It is not economical as it had a limited amount of

charge/discharge cycle.

Compressed Air Energy


Air in/out

Uses off-peak electricity to compress
air and store it in airtight underground
When the air is released from storage,
it expands through a combustion
turbine to create electricity.
Energy density = 0.2~2 MJ/Kg, =0.5
Advantages and disadvantages:
Fast start-up.
Draw back - Geological structure

Pumped Hydroelectric Energy


It consists of two large reservoirs
located at different elevations.
peak demand, water is
released from the upper reservoir.
If Production exceeds Demand, water
is pumped up and stored in the upper
Pump used is a Combined Motor and

Advantages and disadvantages:

Most effective with largest capacity

of electricity (over 2000MW).
Energy density = 0.001MJ/Kg, =0.8
Geographical dependence.
The capital cost is massive.
Soil erosion, land inundation, Silting
of dams.

Electrochemical Storage
Types of Batteries:

Small Capacities
Lead-Acid Batteries
They use a chemical reaction to do work on
charge and produce a voltage between their
output terminals.
Energy density is 0.6 MJ/Kg.
Efficiency of the cell is only 15%

Large Scale

Working of a Lead acid


Fuel Cells
Direct conversion
Burning Fuel?
High Efficiency
E.g.: NASA, Viable
alternative to
petrol engines.

Types of fuel cells:

Classified on the basis of operating

conditions and various electrolytes
Alkaline fuel cells (AFC)
Polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM)
Phosphoric acid fuel cells (PAFC)
Molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFC)
Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC)
Regenerative fuel cells

Energy densities of some energy storage methods.

No green house gases
Not much political dependence
More operating time.
Storage of Hydrogen due to highly
inflammable nature of H2. Though metal
hydrides(FeTiH1.7) and NH3 can be
High capital cost due to Platinum catalyst
used in the process.

Electromagnetic energy storage is also called as

super conducting energy storage
It is defined as: It is possible to store electric
energy as a magnetic energy, even when the
electric current is flowing into the coil of the
superconductive cable, since the electric current
generates continuously a uniform magnetic
energy without attenuating

Magnetic Energy Storage

Super Conductors

SMES systems store energy in a magnetic

field created by the flow of direct current in
a coil of superconducting material that has
been cryogenically cooled.

Principle: At low-temperatures, electric

currents encounter almost no resistance.

Stores energy in the magnetic field.

Environmental friendly and Highly efficient.

Super Capacitors

Use of thin film polymers for the

dielectric layer
Carbon nanotubes and polymers
are practical for super capacitors
In future - carbon nanotubes
with ceramics
Reduce the effect of fluctuations
Longer life time which reduces

Which is better

Comparing one method of energy storage

with another is pointless.

The reason - None of them are optimal for all


Different storage methods differ in capacity

and maximum usable storage time.

For large scale storage Underground

thermal, pumped hydro and compressed
air energy storage systems are preferable.

Superconductors can store energy with

negligible losses.

Fuel cells are a viable alternative to petrol

engines due to their high efficiency.

Flywheels have a narrow range and are not

an answer for large scale operations.


Reliable and affordable energy

storage is a prerequisite for using
renewable energy.
Energy storage therefore has a
pivotal role in the future.
Energy storage is the most promising
technology currently available to
meet the ever increasing demand for

Limitations of solar thermal


Large area is required to collect solar thermal energy.

Solar energy is not available during night and clouds.
Direction of rays changes continously with time.
Energy storage is essential.
High Cost
Solar central power plant in MW range are not