From batteries to hydrogen: Report compares different technologies for energy storage
06 December 2023
Renewable energy such as wind and solar energy is becoming more and more important in the energy system. A problem though, is that it is both unpredictable and fluctuating. Developing infrastructure that can balance and store energy will therefore become increasingly vital.
Five technologies for energy storage illuminated
In the project Energy Equilibrium a report presents and compares five different technologies for storing energy, technologies that are already on the market or close to being introduced to the market.
The technologies are:
- Accumulation in the form om thermal energy
- Accumulation in the form of hydrogen
- Accumulation in the form of biomethane
- Accumulation in the form of potential energy
The report includes data regarding level of technological readiness (TRL), how long the energy can be stored, storage reaction time, investment price range, maintenance costs, capacity, lifetime and efficiency. The report will be the basis for a digital model which will make it easier for municipalities to plan their energy storage. The model will be tested by municipalities in Sweden, Latvia and Poland, countries with different conditions for which technologies will be best.
Hydrogen and batteries most interesting for Sweden
Per-Johan Wik, project manager at Sustainable Business Hub:
– In Sweden the technology for accumulation in the form of potential energy is not on the current agenda, since the hydroelectric capacity is already developed. Here batteries and hydrogen are the most interesting at the moment, Per-Johan explains.
The interest of hydrogen has increased significantly. One possibility is producing hydrogen from excess renewable energy such as wind and solar energy, via electrolysis of water. The hydrogen can then be stored as hydrogen or being converted into another compound via power-to-x-processes. The report two technologies for storage of hydrogen are looked into:
- Hydrogen in pressure containers
- Liquid organic hydrogen carrier
Organic liquid for large-scale storage – pressurized containers for medium-term storage
Storage of hydrogen under pressure is the only storage method currently used on a significant scale worldwide. The technology and the materials in the hydrogen containers have improved as demand for hydrogen storage has grown. But using pressurized containers is not realistic for large-scale hydrogen storage. Then we have to look at other technologies, for example storing hydrogen in some type of organic liquid, so-called Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier. This technology is not as developed and will not become commercial until there is a large-scale need for hydrogen. That assessment is made by Gustav Green, research and development engineer at RISE.
In the shorter perspective, it is still pressurized containers that are relevant for short to medium-term storage. The technology fits into a sustainable energy system where excess electricity from the sun and wind can be stored for usage when the availability of electricity is less.
Municipalities have a role to play in the development
Gustav Green is of the opinion that although the municipalities will not normally be responsible for storing hydrogen, they have a role to play by supporting the development of hydrogen to increase the use and volume in the energy system where it is considered appropriate. Gustav believes that the municipalities have a responsibility to take action to have good energy strategy if there is a crisis. Then hydrogen can be important for the availability of electricity for critical operations.
Find out more about the report here.
Energy Equilibrium is partly financed by Interreg Baltic Sea Region program.
This article was prepared by Sustainable Business Hub who are one of the partners in Energy Equilibrium project.