Advanced energy storage technologies offer economic and energy-efficient back-up power options

Jul 28, 2004

Technical Insights advanced energy storage technologies analysis

Back-up power users such as manufacturers and utility providers are reluctant to move to advanced energy storage technologies from traditional lead-acid batteries. Unfamiliarity with new technologies and higher initial costs hold them back in spite of the significant advantages – including greater reliability and efficiency – that the emerging technologies can offer in the long run.

Nevertheless, with the rapid increase in the use of notebook computers, cell phones, and other small, portable wireless devices, advanced energy storage options, especially lithium technologies, are taking over in the small devices markets that can afford them.

High costs of production affect the application of technologies such as lithium-ion and sodium-sulfur batteries for the multi-kW markets. In spite of offering high power and energy density and efficiency, they have not yet been widely adopted in larger markets such as remote power and utility support.

"But, environmental issues are now coming into play in the selection of advanced energy storage technologies," notes Technical Insights Analyst Miriam Nagel. "Environmentally friendly technologies such as flywheels and ultracapacitors – also called supercapacitors – may soon get a lot more consideration in the energy storage markets."

Ultracapacitors have close to 100 percent efficiency and can be recycled up to 500,000 times. The introduction of standard battery-sized ultracapacitors is a move that has the potential to significantly improve market acceptance of ultracapacitors in a variety of applications, including hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs).

Until now, the biggest hindrance to ultracapacitor mass adoption has been the high costs of integrating them into designs. However, the standard sizing offers an economic power delivery device for seamless and rapid integration into a variety of applications. These ultracapacitors can be produced at half the cost of the earlier version and the savings are likely to be passed on to original equipment manufacturers. One environmental issue is disposing batteries that use toxic materials such as lead and cadmium. The European Commission's recent Battery Directive provides stringent measures for the collection and recycling of all types of batteries, particularly nickel cadmium.

"Some environmental issues can be resolved in applications such as backup for remote power and renewable energy sources like wind and solar by using flywheels or redox flow batteries as an alternative to traditional lead-acid batteries. They offer more energy storage without the environmental problems created by the lead-acid technology," notes Nagel.

No single technology suits all applications in the energy storage market. Applications call for devices ranging in size from button batteries, to 1300-ton battery modules used for grid stabilization.

"Of the ten advanced energy storage technologies, eight have applications in storage for electric power utilities at some level of development, aiming to provide reliable, economic, and energy-efficient power back-up options," concludes Nagel.

Advanced Energy Storage Technologies, part of the Energy Vertical Subscription Service, underscores new and influential developments in the power back-up industry. While the principal focus of the research is on technological advances, it also identifies key companies and developers, and provides estimates of timelines for commercialization of the technology. Executive summaries and interviews are available to the press.

Source: Technical Insights

Explore further: Entrepreneur builds a sleek ship, but will anyone buy it?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Finding innovative solutions for reducing CO2 emissions

Dec 19, 2014

Today, the company Gaznat SA and EPFL signed an agreement for the creation of two new research chairs. The first one will study ways to seize carbon dioxide (CO2) at its production source and increase its value ...

Future batteries: Lithium-sulfur with a graphene wrapper

Dec 16, 2014

What do you get when you wrap a thin sheet of the "wonder material" graphene around a novel multifunctional sulfur electrode that combines an energy storage unit and electron/ion transfer networks? An extremely ...

The simplest element: Turning hydrogen into 'graphene'

Dec 16, 2014

New work from Carnegie's Ivan Naumov and Russell Hemley delves into the chemistry underlying some surprising recent observations about hydrogen, and reveals remarkable parallels between hydrogen and graphene ...

Recommended for you

N. Korea hit by 'continuous' Internet outages: report

52 minutes ago

North Korea appeared to have been hit by Internet outages, reports said Monday, just days after US President Barack Obama warned Washington would retaliate for a cyber attack on Sony Pictures blamed on Pyongyang.

FAA, industry launch drone safety campaign

1 hour ago

Alarmed by increasing encounters between small drones and manned aircraft, drone industry officials said Monday they are teaming up with the government and model aircraft hobbyists to launch a safety campaign.

It's down to the wire for online shopping

1 hour ago

As the holiday shopping season winds down, FedEx, UPS and online retailers are using the last few days to try to avoid the problems that occurred last year when severe winter weather and a surge in late orders ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.