Is the solution for grid electricity storage the new Holy Grail?
Grid electricity storage or large scale energy storage is the collective name for all methods that enable us to store large amounts of electricity inside the power grid. This is a very important and valuable process because it mediates the required energy production between peak and off-peak hours.
Only recently this phenomenon has become a problem, because back in the old days we stored energy in the form of fossil fuels like gas or coal. Evidently this made grid electricity management a fairly easy job because these resources where always available. But In today’s world where we are conscious about the amount of harmful gas we emit into the atmosphere energy generation can no longer be sustained through ways that harm the environment. Therefore`the production is shifting from fossil fuels towards clean and renewable sources.
But this also means that storing and managing energy in the grid is becoming a much harder task! Because now we can’t just turn on the generators, we depend on highly intermittent sources of energy. And this makes the need for efficient and large scale storage of energy all the more pressing!
Currently one of the only viable and “green” solutions for energy storage is hydropowerwher. this techinuque involves harnessing the force of falling water and feeding it into the power grid. This ancient method of energy production however is very location dependent and can’t be used everywhere.
of course there more solution available and other solutions are being researched, even as we speak the capacity of flow batteries is being increased. And in Germany they are experimenting with a cycle where excess energy is used to split hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen created in this process can then react with CO2 to generate methane, which can be stored. This process however is not efficient yet. (more information in the references “CO2 methanation”)
The bigger question that I would like to focus on in the conclusion of this article is the following, what if the Holy Grail for electricity storage is not in grid storage at all! What if the answer to storing huge amounts of energy is not finding a new way to store it all in one place. But finding a way to efficiently store and produce it locally.
I find this a very interesting string of thought, not only would this solve the grid storage problem.(because the only reason there is a need for grid storage is because we want to be able to supply everyone in their need for energy at all times) But this solution would also empower the private individuals and instead of letting them depend on the giant energy companies they would dependent on themselves and their community.
So in sum the real question here is, what do you think is the Holy Grail of supplying the energy demand under the current social protocol? Continuing research on new large scale grid storage solutions or localized energy storage and production? Because one thing is certain, we can’t go back to fossil fuels!