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NREL to Develop a Long-Duration Thermal Energy Storage Technology

Power News - Published on Tue, 19 Nov 2019

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ARPA-E has challenged researchers to innovate a storage technology that can be deployed in almost any location and charge and discharge electricity, at a low fixed cost per cycle, for up to 4 days. The DAYS, Duration Addition to electricity Storage, challenge is to supply an unmet market need to provide grid-scale energy storage at a cost comparable to pumped hydro, currently supplying 95 percent of global storage, but that, unlike pumped storage hydro, could be sited anywhere. Among the awardees, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has been funded with USD 2.8 million to realize this concept with a thermal energy storage concept. The NREL proposal is to develop a modular and scalable thermal storage system that can operate at the scale of conventional thermal power stations, from 100MW like a typical natural gas power station or even up to 300MW like a coal power station.

The ARPA-E targeted cost is 5 cents/kWh, which includes a 2.5 cents/kWh projected cost for incoming electricity from solar or wind, so the storage portion must be no more than 2.5 cents/kWh. The NREL team believes that they can meet this target.

Their approach is to use electricity when there is surplus solar or wind, to heat a thermal storage material stored in concrete silos. When electricity is needed, the stored heat is then released to power up turbines and generators to send the stored energy back onto the grid.

The NREL team will test run their thermal system to ensure that it can run off stored energy for up to four days. The long-duration storage being developed under the ARPA-E project is intended to meet a very different need than batteries, which relieve instantaneous transmission congestion, stabilize voltage and frequency levels. DAYS storage must supply reliable low-cost generation over days, that could keep running cycles for many years.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Tue, 19 Nov 2019
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