Hydrogen to serve as Viable Energy Storage Solution

Among a slew of technologies, hydrogen has the greatest potential for seasonal energy storage in the future, says an analysis conducted by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Seasonal energy storage can facilitate the installation of high and ultra-high percentage of solar and wind energy sources. The findings are presented in an article published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.

To validate this, a research team developed a multi-model approach. It involved considering both the value of storage technologies and estimated cost to determine cost-competitiveness. For this, the research team analyzed 80 scenarios that involved pumped hydro, hydrogen, and compressed air to make their determination.

Assessment of Seasonal Storage covers Techno-economic details

The assessment is perhaps so far the most comprehensive one till date for techno-economic details of seasonal storage. On the basis of estimated value provided to the grid, the team of researchers identified specific conditions. This includes assessment of round-trip efficiency, power and energy-related expenditures, and discharge duration. This is to establish if a given storage technology is cost competitive.

For the analysis, the research team assumed 84% of electricity grid in the U.S. Western region is produced by renewable sources. Cost of seasonal storage on the basis of power capacity and energy capacity were included in the study. Whilst this is common for energy storage analysis, the potential revenues of capacity value included by the researchers is not common. This is the cost to construct new peaking plants for supply of electrical demand, as well as uniquely account for grid operating costs that are avoided.

Meanwhile, previous studies into energy storage do not take into account the potential benefits to the grid. With the help of this information, an analysis of benefit-to-cost ration conducted to determine the profitability of storage technologies.