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Encyclopedia > Energy storage

Energy storage is the storing of some form of energy that can be drawn upon at a later time to perform some useful operation. All forms of energy are either potential energy or kinetic energy. A wind up clock stores potential energy in the spring, a battery stores electrical energy to keep a clock chip in a computer running even when the computer is turned off, and a hydroelectric dam stores power in a reservoir. Even food is a form of energy storage. {{Portal|Energy}Potential energy is the energy available within a physical system due to an objects position in conjunction with a conservative force which acts upon it (such as the gravitational force or Coulomb force). ... The kinetic energy of an object is the extra energy which it possesses due to its motion. ... The NASA Columbia Supercomputer. ... Hydroelectricity is the worlds leading renewable energy source. ... Transmission lines in Lund, Sweden Electric company redirects here. ... ...



Energy storage as a natural process is billions of years old - the energy produced in the initial creation of the Universe has been stored in stars such as our Sun, and is now being used by humans directly (e.g. through solar cells) or indirectly (e.g. by growing crops). Energy storage systems in commercial use today can be broadly categorized into the following forms: mechanical, electrical, chemical, biological, thermal and nuclear. The Universe is defined as the summation of all particles and energy that exist and the space-time in which all events occur. ... The Sun (Latin: Sol) is the star at the center of the Solar System. ... Solar power describes a number of methods of harnessing energy from the light of the sun. ...

As a purposeful activity, energy storage has certainly existed since pre-history, though it was often not recognized as such. An example of mechanical storage would be the use of logs or boulders as defensive measures in ancient forts - the logs or boulders would be collected at the top of a hill, and the energy thus stored would be released as a defense against invaders.

A more recent application was the control of waterways to power water mills for processing grain or powering machinery. Often complex systems of reservoirs and dams were constructed to store and release water (and the potential energy it contained) when required.

Energy storage became a major factor in economic development, however, with the widespread introduction of electricity and refined chemical fuels, such as gasoline, kerosine and natural gas in the late 1800's. Unlike the other common energy carriers used at the time, such as wood or coal, electricity had to be used as it was generated. Electricity must be transmitted in a closed circuit and for practical purposes cannot be stored as electrical energy. This meant that changes in demand were difficult to cater for without either cutting supplies at times, or having expensive excess capacity. Electricity generation is the first process in the delivery of electricity to consumers. ...

An early solution to the problem of storing electricity was the development of the battery, an electrochemical conversion device of limited use in electric power systems due to its small capacity and relatively high cost. A similar solution with the same type of problems is the capacitor. Symbols representing a single Cell (top) and Battery (bottom), used in circuit diagrams. ... Capacitors: SMD ceramic at top left; SMD tantalum at bottom left; through-hole tantalum at top right; through-hole electrolytic at bottom right. ...

Refined chemical fuels have become the dominant form of energy storage, both in the electrical generating sector and the transportation sector. Refined chemical fuels in common use are processed coal, gasoline, diesel fuel, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG or propane), ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen. All of these chemical energy carriers are readily converted to mechanical energy and then to electrical energy with heat engines that are used to power electical generators. Heat engine powered generators are ubiquitous and range in size from small automobile alternators that produce a few kilowatts to utility-scale generators with ratings up to 800 megawatts.

Electrochemical devices called fuel cells were also invented at the same time as the battery. However, for many reasons, fuel cells were not developed until the advent of manned spaceflight (the Gemini Program) when lightweight, efficient sources of electricity were required to keep astronauts alive in a very demanding environment. Many types of fuel cells are now being commercialized to allow the efficient conversion of chemical energy stored in refined hydrocarbon or hydrogen fuels directly into electricity.

At this time, liquid hydrocarbon fuels are the dominant forms of energy storage for the transportation sector. Unfortunately liquid hydrocarbon fuels emit greenhouse gases when combusted in heat engines to power cars, trucks, trains, ships and aircraft. Carbon-free energy carriers, such as hydrogen, or carbon-neutral energy carriers, such as some forms of ethanol or biodiesel, are aggressively being sought in response to concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from the production, distribution and use of energy.

Some areas of the world (Washington and Oregon in the USA, and Wales in the United Kingdom are examples) have used geographic features to store large quantities of water in reservoirs at the top of hills, using excess electricity at times of low demand to pump water into the reservoirs, then letting the water fall through generators to retrieve the energy when demand peaks. Official language(s) English Capital Olympia Largest city Seattle Area  Ranked 18th  - Total 71,342 sq mi (184,827 km²)  - Width 240 miles (385 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 6. ... Official language(s) (none)[1] Capital Salem Largest city Portland Area  Ranked 9th  - Total 98,466 sq mi (255,026 km²)  - Width 260 miles (420 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 2. ... This article is about the country. ...

A number of other technologies have been investigated, such as flywheels or compressed air storage in underground caverns, but to date no widely available solution to the challenge of mass energy storage has been commercialized.

Grid energy storage

Main article: Grid energy storage
The upper reservoir (Llyn Stwlan) and dam of the Ffestiniog Pumped Storage Scheme in north Wales. The lower power station has four water turbines which generate 360 MW of electricity within 60 seconds of the need arising. The size of the dam can be judged from the car parked below.

Grid energy storage lets energy producers send excess electricity over the electricity transmission grid to temporary electricity storage sites that become energy producers when electricity demand is greater. Grid energy storage is particularly important in matching supply and demand over a 24 hour period of time. Ffestiniog pumped storage power station upper reservoir Grid energy storage lets energy producers send excess electricity over the electricity transmission grid to temporary electricity storage sites that become energy producers when electricity demand is greater. ... Image File history File links Stwlan. ... Image File history File links Stwlan. ... Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric generating station Electricity generation is the first process in the delivery of electricity to consumers. ... Power line redirects here. ...

Storage methods

Symbols representing a single Cell (top) and Battery (bottom), used in circuit diagrams. ... A Flow Battery is a form of secondary battery in which the electrolytes are not confined to within the power cell its self. ... A fuel cell is an electrochemical device similar to a battery, but differing from the latter in that it is designed for continuous replenishment of the reactants consumed; i. ... Capacitors: SMD ceramic at top left; SMD tantalum at bottom left; through-hole tantalum at top right; through-hole electrolytic at bottom right. ... A supercapacitor or an ultracapacitor is an electrochemical capacitor that has an unusually large amount of energy storage capability relative to its size when compared to common capacitors. ... Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) uses superconductivity - the ability of certain materials to conduct electricity without resistance - to store electrical energy. ... Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) refers to the compression of air during periods of low energy demand, for use in meeting periods of higher demand. ... NASA G2 flywheel Flywheel Energy Storage (FES) works by accelerating a rotor (flywheel) to a very high speed and maintaining the energy in the system as rotational energy. ... A hydraulic accumulator is an energy storage device. ... Diagram of the TVA pumped storage facility at Racoon Mountain Pumped storage hydroelectricity is a method of storing and producing electricity to supply high peak demands. ... Helical or coil springs designed for tension A spring is a flexible elastic object used to store mechanical energy. ... Thermal energy storage can refer to a number of technologies that store energy in a thermal reservoir for later reuse. ... Molten salt may refer to: Molten salt battery, a class of primary cell and secondary cell high temperature electric battery that use molten salts as an electrolyte Molten salt reactor, a type of nuclear reactor where the primary coolant is a molten salt Solar thermal energy power plants that use... A liquid nitrogen (LN2) economy is a hypothetical proposal for a future economy in which the primary form of energy storage and transport is liquid nitrogen. ... A seasonal thermal store (also known as a seasonal heat store or inter-seasonal thermal store) is a store designed to retain heat deposited during the hot summer months for use during colder winter weather. ... A Solar pond is large-scale solar energy collector with integral heat storage for supplying thermal energy. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... A Steam accumulator is an insulated steel drum containing hot water and steam under pressure. ... Preserved Porter Locomotive Company No. ...


There is a widely held misconception that hydrogen is an alternative energy source. Hydrogen is a chemical energy carrier, just like gasoline, ethanol or natural gas. The unique characteristic of hydrogen is that it is the only carbon-free or zero-emission chemical energy carrier. Hydrogen is a widely used industrial chemical that can be produced from any primary energy source. Most of the world's production is by the thermal reformation of natural gas (methane) into hydrogen that is used immediately to refine petroleum into gasoline, diesel fuel and other petrochemicals. The carbon dioxide produced by the reforming process is either captured and processed into liquid carbon dioxide or vented to the atmosphere. General Name, Symbol, Number hydrogen, H, 1 Chemical series nonmetals Group, Period, Block 1, 1, s Appearance colorless Atomic mass 1. ...

Hydrogen can be used to fuel all types of internal and external combustion heat engines, including ubiqitous, highly reliable and inexpensive reciprocating engines and turbines. In addition to being a zero-emission fuel, hydrogen fueled heat engines can be optimized by the manufacturer to operate at much higher thermal efficiencies than heat engines powered with traditional hydrocarbon fuels. Although engineers have demonstrated the superior performance and environmental benefits of hydrogen fueled piston engines, engine manufacturers do not mass produce hydrogen engines for consumer markets.

Pure hydrogen can also be used to power electrochemical engines, such as the much publicized proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell. Hydrogen powered fuel cells hold the promise of being even more efficient in electrical output than hydrogen fueled heat engines and much more efficient and cleaner than hydrocarbon fuel heat engines. Massive investments have been made by several companies to develop reliable, inexpensive PEM fuel cells. However, these devices are not mass produced and the limited quantities available for purchase are hand made and much more expensive than conventional heat engines.

Just like gasoline, diesel fuel, ethanol or biodiesel, there are no uncombined hydrogen reserves on Earth that could be tapped directly to provide energy. Just like any other hydrocarbon fuel, hydrogen must be manufactured from a primary energy source, like natural gas, crude oil, coal, biomass, solar energy or uranium. Uncombined hydrogen can be produced from any and all of these primary energy sources. Hydrogen is the only chemical energy carrier that can be produced from any primary energy source, including renewable energy sources, and converted into useful work without producing pollution. Because hydrogen is produced and distributed in such huge quantities, the technology needed to build infrastructure to serve wholesale and retail energy markets is proven, reliable and commercially available.

The environmental and efficiency benefits of hydrogen fuels are not yet fully recognized by energy markets. hydrogen is the only chemical energy carrier that has the potential to be produced, distributed and used without discharging carbon to the atmosphere. When the cost of greenhouse gas pollution is fully incorporated into the market price of traditional hydrocarbon fuels, then hydrogen fuels will begin to play an important role in development of highly efficient, distributed energy systems that supply clean, efficient power for our homes, businesses and vehicles.


Various biofuels such as biodiesel, straight vegetable oil, alcohol fuels, or biomass can be broken down into transportation fuel. Various chemical processes can convert the carbon and hydrogen in coal, natural gas, plant and animal biomass, and organic wastes into short hydrocarbons suitable as transportation fuels. Examples of such fuels are Fischer-Tropsch diesel, methanol, dimethyl ether, or syngas. Such diesel was used extensively in World War II by the Germans, who had limited access to crude oil supplies. Today South Africa produces most of country's diesel from coal.[1] A long term oil price above 35 USD may make such liquid fuels economical on a large scale (See coal). Some of the energy in the original source will be lost in the conversion process. Historically coal itself has been used directly for transportation purposes in vehicles and boats using steam engines. Compressed natural gas can itself be used as a transportation fuel. Biofuel is any fuel that derives from biomass _ recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts, such as manure from cows. ... In some countries, filling stations sell biodiesel more cheaply than conventional diesel. ... Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO) is a fuel for diesel engines that can be either pure new vegetable oil or waste vegetable oil that has been cleaned, although this is normally referred to as WVO. Vegetable oil used as fuel in a compression ignition or diesel engine is also referred to... Gasoline on the left, alcohol on the right at a filling station in Brazil Rising energy prices and global warming have led to increased interest in alternative fuels. ... Fuel imports in 2005 Fuel is any material that is capable of releasing energy when its chemical or physical structure is altered. ... See biomass (ecology) for the use of the term in ecology, where it refers to the cumulation of living matter Switchgrass, a tough plant used in the biofuel industry in the United States Rice chaff. ... Fischer-Tropsch Process for Synthetic Diesel Fuel The Fischer-Tropsch process is a catalyzed chemical reaction in which carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane are converted into liquid hydrocarbons of various forms. ... Methanol, also known as methyl alcohol, carbinol, wood alcohol, wood naptha or wood spirits, is a chemical compound with chemical formula CH3OH. It is the simplest alcohol, and is a light, volatile, colourless, flammable, poisonous liquid with a distinctive odor that is somewhat milder and sweeter than ethanol (ethyl alcohol). ... Dimethyl ether, also known as methoxymethane, oxybismethane, methyl ether, wood ether, and DME, is a colorless gaseous ether with an ethereal odor. ... It has been suggested that Town gas be merged into this article or section. ... Coal Coal (IPA: ) is a fossil fuel formed in swamp ecosystems where plant remains were saved by water and mud from oxidization and biodegradation. ... A steam engine is a heat engine that makes use of the thermal energy that exists in steam, converting it to mechanical work. ... Typical North America vehicles carry this diamond shape symbol, meaning it is running on compressed natural gas fuel. ...

Synthetic hydrocarbon fuel

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can be converted into hydrocarbon fuel with the help of energy from another source. The energy can come from sunlight using future artificial photosynthesis technology.[2][3] Another alternative for the energy is electricity or heat from solar energy or nuclear power.[4][5] Compared to hydrogen, many hydrocarbons fuels have the advantage of reusing existing engine technology and existing fuel distribution infrastructure. Manufacturing synthetic hydrocarbon fuel reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere until the fuel is burned, when the same amount of carbon dioxide returns to the atmosphere. In order to meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article requires cleanup. ... Artificial photosynthesis is a research field that attempts to replicate the natural process of photosynthesis, converting sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. ...

Boron, silicon, and zinc

Boron,[6] silicon,[7] and zinc[8] have been proposed as energy storage solutions. General Name, Symbol, Number boron, B, 5 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 13, 2, p Appearance black/brown Standard atomic weight 10. ... General Name, Symbol, Number silicon, Si, 14 Chemical series metalloids Group, Period, Block 14, 3, p Appearance as coarse powder, dark grey with bluish tinge Standard atomic weight 28. ... General Name, Symbol, Number zinc, Zn, 30 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 12, 4, d Appearance bluish pale gray Standard atomic weight 65. ...

Mechanical storage

Energy can be stored as water pumped to a higher elevation, compressed air, and spinning flywheels, but mechanical methods of storing energy have limited capacity or efficiency. Several companies are proposing vehicles using compressed air for power.[9][10] NASA G2 flywheel Flywheel Energy Storage (FES) works by accelerating a rotor (flywheel) to a very high speed and maintaining the energy in the system as rotational energy. ... Compressed air is used to refer to: Pneumatics, the use of pressurized gases to do work, as used in the Air car Breathing gas, often used in scuba diving, also to inflate buoyancy devices Compressed air can also be used for cooling using a vortex tube. ...

Intermittent power

Many renewable energy systems produce intermittent power. Other generators on the grid can be throttled to match varying production from renewable sources, but most of this throttling capacity is already committed to handling variations in load. Further development of intermittent renewable power will require some combination of grid energy storage, demand response, and spot pricing. Intermittent energy sources may be limited to at most 20-30% of the electricity produced for the grid without such measures. If electricity distribution loss and costs are managed, then intermittent power production from many different sources would increase the overall reliability of the grid. Ffestiniog pumped storage power station upper reservoir Grid energy storage lets energy producers send excess electricity over the electricity transmission grid to temporary electricity storage sites that become energy producers when electricity demand is greater. ... Explanation of demand response effects on a quantity (Q) - price (P) graph. ... The spot price of a commodity or a security or a currency is the price that is quoted for settlement (payment and delivery) of the transaction immediately. ...

Renewables that are not intermittent include hydroelectric power, geothermal power, tidal power, Energy tower, ocean thermal energy conversion, high altitude airborne wind turbines, biofuel, and solar power satellites. Solar photovoltaics, although technically intermittent, produces electricity during peak periods, and hence does reduce the need for peak power plants. Demand response programs, which send market pricing signals to consumers, can be a very effective way of managing variations in electricity production; for example, hydrogen production can increase when excess electricity is being produced, and conversely, hot water heaters can be automatically set to a lower temperature when production is lower. Sharav Sluice Energy Tower An energy tower is a method for producing electrical power for consumer consumption, the brainchild of Dr. Phillip Carlson, which has been expanded upon by Professor Dan Zaslavsky. ... For articles on specific fuels used in vehicles, see Biogas, Bioethanol, Biobutanol, Biodiesel, and Straight vegetable oil. ... An artists depiction of a solar satellite, which could send energy wirelessly to a space vessel or planetary surface. ... Peak power is the maximum level of work or energy output that is measured during an observation period. ...

See also

Energy Portal

Image File history File links Portal. ... Ffestiniog pumped storage power station upper reservoir Grid energy storage lets energy producers send excess electricity over the electricity transmission grid to temporary electricity storage sites that become energy producers when electricity demand is greater. ... Energy portal This is a list of energy topics which identifies articles and categories that relate to energy in general. ... Energy density is the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume or per unit mass, depending on the context. ... Distributed generation is a new trend in the generation of heat and electrical power. ... Power transmission is the movement of energy from its place of generation to a location where it is applied to performing useful work. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Energy storage

  Results from FactBites:
Energy Storage Council :: About Energy Storage (198 words)
Energy storage is one of the most critical components of the "new" electricity value chain.
Bulk energy storage is truly one of the most promising new areas of the electricity industry.
The Energy Storage Council believes that bulk energy storage will become the "sixth dimension" of the electricity value chain following fuels/energy sources, generation, transmission, delivery, and customer energy services.
energy storage (421 words)
Energy storage can improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric utility system by reducing the requirements for spinning reserves to meet peak power demands, making better use of efficient baseload generation, and allowing greater use of intermittent renewable energy technologies.
Energy storage technologies include utility battery storage, flywheel storage, superconducting magnetic energy storage, compressed air energy storage, pumped hydropower, and supercapacitors.
A flywheel spinning at very high speeds can be used to store energy by combining it with a device that operates either as an electric motor that accelerates the flywheel to store energy or as a generator that produces electricity from the energy stored in the flywheel.
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