As the globe moves away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources, a basic problem persists: what happens when the wind stops blowing or the sun goes down?
The approach could be to collect and store energy when the sun is out and the wind is blowing, and then release it when it is needed. However, Carlos Torres Diaz, director of power and gas market research at consultancy Rystad Energy, points out that “currently, battery technology only has a capacity of covering up to four hours.” Even though energy is already stored in large lithium-ion batteries that can be recharged, this is still the case. Despite the fact that this is expected to improve in the coming years, Diaz warns that “there will still be moments where batteries will not be enough, so you need something else to back up the energy system.” Here is where the importance of long-term energy storage really shines.
Long-duration energy storage (LDES) is a general term for any type of device that can store energy for several hours, days, weeks, or even months and then release it as needed. Given that renewable energy is by its very nature an intermittent source, this technology is crucial if the world is to expand the amount of renewable energy. According to the Long Duration Energy Storage Council, which was established at COP26 last year, a cost-effective net zero energy system won’t be possible until LDES capacity has increased by eight to fifteen times, or to 1.5 to 2.5 terawatts (85 to 140 terawatt hours), by 2040.
The benchmark technology is pumped hydro storage, in part due to its high round-trip efficiency: the percentage of the energy stored in this method that can be later released is over 80%. Various technologies are being developed, with varied degrees of maturity. The use of moving water between lower and higher reservoirs to store and produce energy has been a part of technology for more than a century. Nevertheless, it continues to be the most popular storage technique globally, with about 160GW of installed power capacity as of last year. Another 130GW is being built or is in the planning stages, with China being responsible for over 60% of these.
Although the technology’s employment is restricted by geographic factors, particularly in the case of overground large-scale installations, new advancements are starting to emerge that could enable its deployment on non-mountainous terrain. The Swiss business Energy Vault is also working on a technique that is similar to pumped hydro but involves moving a solid mass between various heights. This lifts and stacks composite blocks using extra renewable energy that is then released to produce electricity. According to Energy Vault, a proof-of-concept facility with a 5MW capacity that was built in Switzerland in 2020 achieved a round-trip efficiency of 75%. Energy Vault has also revealed ambitions to use the technology in China.
The utilization of surplus energy to compress and store air, then release it to turn generator turbines, is another comparable technology. Electrochemical technology, including vanadium flow batteries, represent an alternative. These now have a poorer round-trip efficiency compared to other choices since they utilize enormous tanks of individually charged vanadium electrolytes to store energy. New battery kinds are also available. Energy Nest, a company established in Norway, is storing extra energy as heat in “thermal batteries” that resemble concrete for use in industrial processes. Natural gas is often burned to produce heat for heavy industry.
Christian Thiel, the CEO of Energy Nest, notes that 50% of the world’s energy use is based on heat rather than electricity. “If you only think about electrons, you are not considering the entire energy pie,” Recently, there has been a noticeable increase in investment in LDES. According to the LDES Council, it reached $910 million in 2021, up from $130 million in 2018, but it estimates that between 2022 and 2040, a total investment of $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion will be required to advance the sector. However, the industry is still in its infancy and lacks a well-established business model; besides, one LDES project has already been canceled. The Siemens Gamesa renewable energy division ended its electrothermal energy storage demonstration in Hamburg, Germany, in May. Siemens Gamesa is a worldwide business.
According to a firm spokeswoman, “A commercial market for large-scale and long-term storage has not yet materialized.” The system’s use of renewable energy has not yet increased enough to create a market for long-term storage solutions, and the regulatory environment has not been helpful for market entry. Both regulators and corporate participants are still attempting to determine what the best business model is, according to Frank Wouters, co-president of the LDES Council. He claims that the business case for having superior battery storage [connected] to a solar system is now rather simple. You may create a business case out of the fact that it is commercial. However, Wouters observes that it is not always obvious when LDES is the best option. He states, “It truly depends on the local situation. The senior analyst at S&P Global Commodity Insights, George Hilton, concurs that LDES will be “competitive in some instances, but not others.” In areas that want to reduce their carbon emissions but do not have an interconnected energy grid, like the Pacific Islands, or in “poorly interconnected areas… where they are currently relying on diesel or gas generation because it is not feasible to build the grid to those locations,” he suggests that LDES may be helpful. These locations will adopt LDES early on, and we’ll get indications of how the rest of the market will develop, he continues.
Much current research is focused nowadays on discovering methods to cheaply store renewable energy by transforming current energy into various forms that may be released as required. The more one relies on renewable energy, the more important it is to develop high-volume storage to compensate for supply fluctuations. So, as you see, energy storage definitely seems to be the key to a future led by renewable energy.
But what if there was no need for storing energy?
If there was no need for storing renewable energy, there would be no reason to rely on battery technology, which is both expensive and inefficient. The technology behind batteries is advancing at a rapid rate, and there may come a day in the annals of human history when storing a limitless amount of electricity would seem to be child’s play. In the meanwhile, a discovery made in 2015 pushes humanity in the direction of a future in which it will no longer be necessary to consume fossil fuels. Despite the fact that the finding that neutrinos have mass was discovered a couple of years ago by scientists in Japan and Canada at the same time, the landscape of energy research has already been transformed. We are in need of the appropriate technology in order for us to be able to harness the power of the billions of ethereal particles that impact our globe each and every day. In spite of the fact that it may seem like something out of a science fiction novel, the technology necessary to gather the kinetic energy in the form of traveling neutrinos and other forms of non-visible radiation and convert it to electricity has already been developed. The feasibility of the idea has been shown in controlled laboratory conditions; the only remaining challenge is the Licensed industrial production of the Neutrino Powercubes which is set to begin in Switzerland in late 2023 -early 2024.
The Neutrino Powercube is a crucial component of the energy transition
Though solar and wind energy are both amazing technologies that have been true game changers for the past two decades when it comes to the generation of clean energy, climate change and the current global crisis have made it very difficult for people to invest in them due to the various drawbacks they present; as a result, evolution is required in order to support the energy that is now provided by wind farms, solar arrays, and other sustainable energy projects. And that is where the Neutrino Powercube comes into play.
Developed by the private science and technology company Neutrino Energy Group, the Neutrino Powercubes based on their impressive neutrinovoltaic technology are a true game changer. Thanks to the dedication of Neutrino Energy Group’s team of highly driven and inventive energy specialists and scientists from around the world, led by Holger Thorsten Schubart, this innovation has emerged as one of the century’s most significant technological advances. one that can create reliable power day and night, is compact in size, doesn’t use any moving parts, is silent, and doesn’t contribute to environmental degradation regardless of the weather conditions. Neutrinovoltaic technology offers the potential to alleviate the burden of renewable energy sources that rely on storage, even on a small scale. Even if neutrino energy satisfies just 10 percent of a renewable power grid’s entire energy demands, it still eliminates the need to store 10 percent of that system’s electricity in batteries.
The Neutrino Powercube with a net output of 5-6 kW is installed in the form of a cabinet. This is divided into two: one panel for power generation, which houses the power generation modules, and one panel for the installation of a control system. The Neutrino Powercube generation room with a net power of 5-6 kW will have a size of 800x400x600 mm and a weight of approx. 50 kg. The control room will house inverters for converting direct current to alternating current with a voltage of 230 V and 400V. The Neutrino Powercube also has a DC connection for direct connection of the computer and various devices and appliances. Autonomous power sources Neutrino Powercubes have no rotating parts, so they do not produce noise or harmful radiation that would disturb the comfort of the home. The net power generated by the Neutrino Powercube depends on the power loss when converting direct current into alternating current with a voltage of 230 V and 400V. A Neutrino Powercube with a net power of 5-6 kW therefore has a gross power of 7 kW A generator with a net power of 5-6 kW has 6 power generation modules, a generator with a net power of 10-12 kW has 12 power generation modules.
The structural features of the Neutrino Powercubes make it possible to increase the required power by connecting additional power-generating modules, each of which consists of a set of densely packed metal foil plates with a multilayer nanomaterial applied to one side. A plate measuring 200×300 mm generates a voltage of 1.5 V and a current of 2 A. By applying a multilayer coating to one side of the foil, different poles are created: the coated side forms the positive pole and the uncoated side the negative pole, so that they can be placed on top of each other and pressed to achieve a reliable series connection of the plates. Licensed industrial production of Neutrino Powercubes will begin in Switzerland in late 2023 -early 2024. The new distributed power generation technology Neutrinovoltaic is not only a solution to economic problems for underdeveloped countries, but the beginning of a global transformation of the energy supply structure worldwide with undoubted environmental benefits for our planet.