Sep 09, 2021

Energy storage as an extra boost for your business case

The share of green energy in the energy mix is increasing every year and so we are becoming more and more dependent on wind and solar power. We are already seeing energy prices fluctuate. When there is a lot of wind and sun, electricity is a lot cheaper than on cloudy, windless days. As a company, you too can make use of this by storing energy when it costs little. As a result, you can give your company an extra boost in terms of sustainability and move towards higher levels of electrification. So, what storage options are available out there 

 

Electrification  

For the electrification of, say, a factory, you need a number of e-boilers and industrial heat pumps. E-boilers replace gas-fired steam boilers. Industrial heat pumps, on the other hand, can convert waste heat of 30-40 degrees, which is not being used at the moment, to 120 degrees, making it usable for the processes. Electricity is now often more expensive than natural gas. So electrifying your plant doesn’t always lead to a strong business case. But then storage comes into play. It allows you to capitalize on low energy prices, harvest energy at the cheap moments and use it again later, when the price is higher.  

 

Storage in water tanks  

The easiest and cheapest way to store energy is in water. The disadvantage is that storage can only be up to 100 degrees. You can also store water under pressure, economically to a maximum of 160 degrees. In some cases, that can make all the difference. However, many industrial processes require a higher temperature. Heat storage in water falls short of that. But fortunately, there is stone.  

 

Back to the Stone Age?  

Stone – we hear you ask? Walk across your patio tiles on a warm, sunny day, and you immediately understand its potential. There are already stone storage systems on the market that can store heat up to 800 degrees. For example, basalt, which has a high density per cubic meter, can be used in several ways. One way is through a heating element that runs through the basalt block: You get the heat out through an open tube, through which you run oil or steam. The other way is by heating air to 850 degrees and then blowing it into the basalt block with large fans. The fans are then used to extract the heat at a later stage.  

 

Better business case  

 Energy storage is not something for the future. We are already seeing that our calculation models give better results when a certain form of energy storage is taken into account. What works varies, of course, from client to client. TransitionHERO, for example, uses basalt and hot air in one of its setups. To take an industrial plant off the natural gas, we have developed a solution using a basalt block measuring 40 x 20 x 10 meters and fans the size of a shipping container.  

 

torage is pure necessity  

Storage is not only good for your business case, but it is also necessary in order to make the transition from fossil to green possible. Without thermal storage, green energy cannot be fitted into the energy system. Because the share of green energy will only increase, the supply will also fluctuate more. And this may cause an imbalance such that it results in negative energy prices, for example.  

Are you interested in energy storage? Our engineers will be happy to tell you more.  

 

Up to 70% sustainable  

On Easter Monday 2021, 60% of all electricity in the Netherlands was generated sustainably. A record. A few days earlier, green power generation peaked at 77% for one hour. Also a record. The intention is for such percentages to become normal. The Dutch climate target is to generate 70% of all electricity via wind or sun by 2030. In 2020, it was 26%.   

 

The holy heat battery  

A real giant battery is not (yet) an option, as it is too expensive. However, the search for the holy grail in the field of storage is in full swing worldwide. TransitionHERO currently has more than 15 types of thermal storage solutions in its database. A good example is Israel, where work is being done on a super-efficient heat battery made of volcanic material. Pieces of volcanic rock are compressed into a block that is 12 meters long. This giant shashlik is then heated with an electric coil.