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The energy storage revolution

2 min. reading
Storage / 5 June, 2021

Karla García Gil Journalist

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The world is in the midst of a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and efficient energy storage is a key part of this transition, as it makes renewable energy production more flexible and ensures its integration into the system.

The more renewable energies we use, the more we will save in costs, because they are the cheapest, and at the same time we will benefit the planet because they are the ones that emit the least pollutants, since most of them are clean energies.

It is worth mentioning that electrical energy as such cannot be stored and must be transformed. Depending on their capacity, energy storage systems are divided into: large-scale storage (reversible hydroelectric (pumped storage) and thermal storage), which is used on GW scales; storage in networks and generation assets (batteries, capacitors, superconductors and flywheels), which is used on MW scales; and finally, end-user storage (batteries, superconductors and flywheels), which is used on kW scales.

A world with clean energy

A world with clean energy

Different opinions exist regarding the causes of climate change: Some experts state that temperature increases are a normal part of the Earth’s cycle, whilst others interpret this phenomenon as man’s doing.

The future is lithium batteries

In recent years, the renewable energy industry has seen lithium batteries as the solution to its problem of storing the energy generated. As one of the smallest elements in the periodic table, lithium has a high electrochemical potential and is capable of storing large amounts of energy. Only its high cost had prevented lithium batteries from becoming the main storage technology for renewable energies.

That situation, however, appears to be changing. According to a BloombergNEF report, the cost of lithium batteries is set to drop substantially in the coming years. A reduction of up to 50% in lithium-ion battery costs per kW/h is forecast by 2030, as demand picks up in two distinct markets: stationary storage and electric vehicles.

This will be conducive to energy storage installations globally multiplying exponentially, from 9 GW/17 GWh deployed as of 2018 to 1,095 GW/2,850 GWh by 2040. This increase would require an estimated investment of US$662 billion.

Based on the above, we can say that we are facing a third Industrial Revolution, after electricity, which was the first great invention of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, and the second where different inventors turned electric energy into an industrial activity capable of transforming history, and where, in addition to coal, other energy sources such as oil were added. Today, the revolution consists not only in the detachment from fossil fuels and the use of renewable and/or clean energies, but also their storage.

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