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Not all storage solutions are created equal

Understanding the different methods of energy storage allows us to glimpse the shape of our future energy system. Hans Maghon of Siemens Energy explains.
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This article was originally published by Power Engineering International

Understanding the different methods of energy storage allows us to glimpse the shape of our future energy system. Hans Maghon of Siemens Energy explains.

As we head towards a decarbonized energy future, it’s becoming more and more clear that energy storage systems will form not just building blocks, but be part of the very foundation that future will rest on.

Batteries are making headway in power generation. For example, close to Antioch, California, a town not far from San Francisco, a 720MW gas-fired plant named Marsh Landing has so far relied on diesel engines to ensure it could perform a black start in case of a power outage. But soon, that’s going to be a thing of the past.

This article was originally published in Power Engineering International 4-2021.

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Currently, the plant is being equipped with a customized battery storage system by Siemens Energy. It supports up to three attempts to restart the power facility on an expedited basis, and it also reduces emissions over its traditional back-up systems.

Doing so doesn’t make Marsh Landing an exception: today, there are numerous plants around the world taking advantage of using batteries for carbon-free black-start capabilities.

This black-start capability is just one benefit among many. As the share of renewables keeps increasing, energy storage systems will be essential to balance fluctuating energy supply, grid stability, and 24/7 availability of renewable power.

Thermal energy storage improves a plant’s efficiency as well as its operational flexibility, And also increases the energy yield

However, not all energy storage solutions are created equal, as they will play different roles. For example, batteries serve a different purpose than rotating grid stabilizers, which in turn fulfil different functions than thermal energy storage or green hydrogen.

If we look at these different energy storage systems more closely, we don’t just get an impression of the variety of those systems: we gain insight into the shape of our future energy system.

Batteries

Let’s first focus on batteries. A rather mature technology, currently, they are not only well suited for black-start capabilities: they economically solve a variety of issues that arise when trying to decarbonize.

Batteries support carbon-free energy production, as they address the volatility of renewable energy sources by storing energy when it’s available in abundance and providing it when there’s a shortage.

They are also flexible, allowing fast supply of energy when needed; and they are plannable and reliable. Additionally, batteries help power producers avoid curtailment, a mostly involuntary reduction of energy output.

Likewise, they make energy arbitrage feasible – storing energy when it is cheap and selling it when prices are high. In combination with renewables such as wind farms, battery storage helps manage power depending on current needs.

And large offshore vessels and drilling platforms use it to minimize the use of diesel generators, as well as to reduce CO2 and NOx-emissions.

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However, we have not yet unlocked the full potential of batteries. In the coming years, batteries will be able to help virtually expand grids (by providing and consuming electricity) and managing grid congestion.

That, in turn, allows companies to flexibly handle the increase in energy demand. For industrial assets, batteries will enable peak shaving by supplying electricity demand during peak hours.

That is not to say that there aren’t open questions. First, today’s batteries have limited capacity, meaning they can provide power for only a few hours, and, over time, they degrade.

Second, there is the continued usage of rare elements in the production of batteries, raising environmental issues as well as concerns over the dependency on countries supplying them.

But through continued research, rare elements should become less important. This goes along with the importance of finding ways to either reuse or recycle batteries – and developing new battery concepts such as metal-free flow batteries which may achieve longer discharge periods.

Overall, batteries are one option among many, and the potential shortcomings of one solution are easily matched by others, such as rotating grid stabilizers, thermal, or hydrogen storage.

Rotating grid stabilizers

As the need for power from renewable sources increases, fluctuating power is not the only concern for power generation.

Another important challenge is that with less conventional synchronous power generation, grid frequency is getting more sensitive due to the reduced number of rotating machines.

Grid operators are already faced with the challenge of providing sufficient system inertia of synchronous generators with high rotating masses to avoid black-outs due to fast frequency and voltage drops.

Rotating grid stabilizers (RGSs) solve this challenge, as they provide additional system inertia and short circuit power to the grid – and they actually do so at critical grid locations worldwide today.

A typical RGS system consists of a synchronous condenser and a flywheel. The flywheel stores energy as rotational energy. As soon as the grid frequency drops, the flywheel responds, resulting in balanced and more stable grid frequency.

The task of the synchronous condenser is to connect the flywheel to the electric grid and thus help stabilize the grid.

This way, RGSs also enable the grid to handle fluctuating renewable infeed. As they release no emissions, they are as environmentally sound as the energy that feeds them. And they are cost-efficient, as their lifetime ranges from about 30 to 40 years.

Additionally, by replacing the system inertia that is currently being supplied by fossil power plants, RGSs enable a share of renewables of up to 100%. Another benefit they provide is the repurposing of conventional power plants which otherwise might be phased out, re-using their infrastructure, and offering a second life for these assets.

Thermal storage

Thermal energy storage supports decarbonization by handling another important building block to a future energy system: heat. It makes use of heat produced by renewable energy or captured from waste heat or exhaust gas, ranging in discharge duration from mid-term to long-term storage.

We have not yet unlocked the full potential of batteries

Thermal energy storage improves a plant’s efficiency as well as its operational flexibility, and also increases the energy yield.

A great variety of heat storage media are available, such as liquids like molten salt and pressurized water, or solids like stone, steel, concrete, or sand. Thermal energy storage also feeds thermal energy across sectors back into various processes and makes them more flexible, in heating as well as cooling applications for buildings or industrial processes.

Also, renewable electricity can be fed into thermal storage via resistive heating, helping to decarbonize heat production and to balance availability and demand for thermal energy.

So, the potential is undoubtedly great. Heating and cooling, for example, are Europe’s largest energy consumers, using more energy than mobility or electricity sectors.

Green hydrogen

Now let’s turn to green hydrogen – produced via the electrolysis of water with electrical energy from renewable sources, meaning it´s completely free of CO2 emissions.

Green hydrogen will enable long-term storage that, in combination with other storage solutions, allows the efficient coupling of all sectors of the economy. It’s an excellent solution for long-term energy storage, particularly in hydrogen pipeline and cavern storage networks.

Image credit: Siemens Energy

With the ongoing build-up of a pan- European pipeline network and with sufficient cavern storage to be built up by 2050, it will enable seasonal power-to-power storage on a large scale.

Re-electrification will be realized in H2capable gas turbines, engines, or fuel cells to provide security of electricity supply; in periods of low renewable energy supply, for example, when there is lack of wind.

Compared to the other storage solutions mentioned thus far, hydrogen also enables other applications. It can be used directly as fuel for mobility or as a feedstock for various industries. Via synthesis with carbon dioxide, it can be converted into synthetic, sustainable e-fuels such as e-methanol, e-methane, e-diesel, e-jet fuel, or other carbon-based chemicals.

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. One is the present cost of producing hydrogen, another the current lack of infrastructure for producing, distributing, and storing hydrogen.

Electric Thermal Energy Storage uses electricity to heat volcanic stones to temperatures of 600°C and higher

But these aren’t permanent roadblocks. Transportation costs can be significantly reduced by using existing gas infrastructure. Also, production cost can be cut by upscaling industrial processes.

So, in short, the potential is great. Estimates are that sector coupling via hydrogen has the potential to reduce primary fossil energy consumption by 50% even while power demand grows by 25%.

Long-duration solutions

While the picture drawn above gives a rough idea of the essential role energy storage systems will play in our energy future, today the idea of energy storage is mainly associated with batteries, which store energy only for short periods of time.

That’s why next to green hydrogen, other long-duration energy storage systems should be mentioned.

There is pumped hydro, globally the most widely deployed bulk energy storage solution, which has been used for millennia. It produces energy when stored water flows downhill and is capable of supplying reactive power when there is an imbalance in the grid.

Compressed air energy storage is a mechanical storage solution that offers a reliable, cost-effective, and long-duration energy underground storage solution at grid scale. It’s especially attractive in areas where geography does not support pumped hydro, but large caverns are available.

And finally, ETES (Electric Thermal Energy Storage) by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy enables long duration storage by using electricity to heat volcanic stones to temperatures of 600°C and higher.

The stored heat can be converted back into electricity using a steam turbine.

All in all, it is these long-term solutions that will make a decarbonized energy system robust and sustainable. Solutions for longer duration storage – with the exception of pumped hydro – still have to become known more widely and accepted by the market. But as the share of renewables increases, the need for storage systems will become not just a building block for sure, but part of the very foundation our energy future rests on.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hans Maghon is Head of Energy Storage at Siemens Energy

The post Not all storage solutions are created equal appeared first on Power Engineering International.




Energy & Critical Metals

GTI Resources storms ahead with drilling at THOR ISR Uranium Project in Wyoming

Special Report: The Wyoming properties are close to UR Energy’s (URE) Lost Creek ISR Facility and Rio Tinto’s Sweetwater/Kennecott Mill. … Read More
The…

The Wyoming properties are close to UR Energy’s (URE) Lost Creek ISR Facility and Rio Tinto’s Sweetwater/Kennecott Mill.

GTI Resources has started drilling on schedule at the THOR ISR Uranium Project in Wyoming’s Great Divide Basin, US, with two mud rotary drill rigs undertaking a 15,000m program of around 100 holes.

The program is designed to confirm the grade and tenor of uranium mineralisation that was previously identified by Kerr McGee in the 1980s and to ultimately support definition of an economic ISR uranium resource.

GTI (ASX:GTR) has prioritised the Thor Project area for drilling based on historical exploration data, which includes results of 83 historic drill holes as well as some drill logs, and the project’s location on the mapped REDOX boundary.

Mineralisation encountered in the historical drill holes is located around 120–180m from surface.

Project location

Location map. Pic: Supplied

The THOR ISR project lies with 5-30km of both Ur-Energy’s Lost Creek ISR uranium facility and Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Sweetwater uranium deposits and mill.

The project is readily accessible being flat lying and adjacent to a significantly improved and maintained county road.

GTI
Mud rotary drill rigs, ancillary equipment, and support vehicles at the Thor Project. Pic: Supplied

Drilling to identify REDOX boundaries

GTR’s main objective is to identify REDOX boundaries and potential host sands in addition to defining the depth, thickness, grade, and width of mineralisation across the REDOX front.

The program may also enable the estimation of inferred mineral resources or an exploration target but ultimately, the company says it hopes to encounter mineralisation of similar tenor to that encountered at the nearby Lost Creek deposit.

Economic cut-off criteria for sandstone hosted ISR uranium projects in Wyoming’s Great Divide Basin include:

  • Grade greater than 0.02% eU3O8 (200 ppm);
  • Grade x Thickness (GT) greater than 0.2 ( 3m at 200ppm);
  • Width of mineralisation above cutoff nominal 15m; and
  • Nominal GT of 0.4.

Looking ahead

Drilling is expected to take less than 30 operational days to complete and allowing for weather interruptions and the Christmas break, GTI expects that the program will be concluded in early 2022, if weather conditions remain favourable.

Results are expected to be available in the weeks after the final holes have been completed and recommendations for next steps will be developed at the end of the drill program, as late as July 2022.

 


 

 

This article was developed in collaboration with GTI Resources, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

 

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.

The post GTI Resources storms ahead with drilling at THOR ISR Uranium Project in Wyoming appeared first on Stockhead.


Author: Special Report

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Energy & Critical Metals

Green Technologies Have A Glaring Problem Of Scale

Green Technologies Have A Glaring Problem Of Scale

Authored by Iddo Wernick via RealClearScience.com,

In the context of the massive attention…

Green Technologies Have A Glaring Problem Of Scale

Authored by Iddo Wernick via RealClearScience.com,

In the context of the massive attention paid to climate change, nations around the world have committed to substantially reducing and even eliminating their carbon emissions by 2050. Achieving these goals relies on several ‘green’ technologies that would form the basis of a future energy system. As envisioned, mass deployment of these technologies will encounter fundamental physical limits that call into question their ability to function as replacements for their equivalents in the current energy system. By placing firm targets, nations around the world have committed to terminating their carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 to offer confidence that a better world is achievable if only society implements the right policies and employs the correct technologies. This assumption is inaccurate, based on a view that is at odds with nature.

Due to unavoidable physical constraints, future green technologies offer little promise for achieving economies of scale. Many of the improvements suggested to improve their performance remain marginal and frequently come with the environmental costs of additional embedded energy requirements, extensive land use and greater material complexity. The outcomes achieved under laboratory conditions are not guaranteed to be viable at the scale necessary for them to make a significant difference. 

Efforts to improve energy efficiency remain essential, but those efforts are not likely to reduce aggregate energy use. The vehicles and appliances of 2050 will likely be more efficient than those of today, but precisely because of their greater efficiency there will be many more of them. Under almost any scenario, global electricity demand will increase between now and 2050 and meaningful reductions in carbon emissions will need to come from changes in the primary energy supply.

The technological vision implied by national pledges for a carbon neutral 2050 assumes that future societies will be able to:

1) Harvest nearly all the energy society uses directly from renewable natural sources (sun, wind, currents, waves, vegetation);

2) Store large amounts of electricity over long periods, and

3) Collect carbon dioxide molecules from mixed gases and dispose of them. A further implied assumption is that governments and citizens will be willing to pay the costs of environmental externalities independent of their cost, including the costs of avoiding a predicted climate disaster.

Technologies designed to capture the radiant energy of the sun or the kinetic energy of the wind must accommodate the inherent randomness of these sources. Nature’s tendency to favor disorder over order (i.e., the 2nd law of thermodynamics) complicates the goal of extracting net energy from sources that rely directly on meteorological conditions. Moreover, the engineering devices deployed to convert these sources into electricity are subject to physical laws that limit their practical efficiency actually converting solar radiation and moving air into useful energy. 

Centuries of searching for chemically compatible materials for a battery that can store significant energy, charge quickly, sustain many charge-discharge cycles, and do so safely and reliably have yielded batteries capable of powering appliances but still not well suited to powering vehicles or electric grids. Todays’ electric cars use a considerable amount of energy to transport their own battery packs. Utility scale batteries require massive capital outlays for equipment that offers hours, not days, of storage capacity. Huge economic rewards await those who can solve the technical puzzle of safe, reliable, energy dense batteries, but so far this object remains elusive.

The technical problem of reliably removing carbon dioxide molecules from a mixed gas has been solved. Nonetheless, the removal process requires significant energy that reduces the net amount of useful energy generated when burning hydrocarbons. After decades of research and development, removing CO2 from a post combustion waste stream still requires 20-30% of the total energy generated under ideal conditions.

Clever engineering can finesse technical challenges but cannot overcome fundamental forces of nature. The technologies proposed for meeting future carbon-neutral energy commitments rely on manipulating materials and energy at increasingly microscopic scales. Typically, proposed technologies rely on employing sophisticated control systems or highly engineered materials that improve efficiency outcomes. However, even pilot-scale advances in green energy technologies may offer little proof of their success when scaled up to mass production and consumption as the same strict tolerances and controlled conditions become more difficult to achieve. 

Successful technologies may not succeed instantly and need to emerge over time, but their success cannot be forced by government fiat or the mandates of Five-Year Plans. Widely diffused technologies generally exploit sound scientific principles that benefit the humans they are intended to serve. They offer economic benefit by adding value to goods and services that consumers are willing to pay for. They typically rely on some scientific phenomenon that can be enhanced through the diligence of engineers to innovate in applying it.  For example, engineers have learned to control how we burn fuels to create optimal conditions for efficient heat generation and heat transport in power plants, homes and vehicles. The history of growth in digital processing and communication similarly relies on repeatedly exploiting basic principles in solid state physics with greater and greater engineering skill.

Confidence that green technologies can scale to dominate national energy systems remains based more on marketing claims than on demonstrated operational experience. The national goals set for 2050 present a supreme technological challenge to reduce environmental fallout while raising living standards for billions around the globe. Neither rich nor poor nations can afford to invest in technologies that achieve questionable benefits at the expense of accessible, reliable energy services for its citizens. Technologies that do not scale are destined to remain boutique technologies, the purview of the rich, environmental activists, and politicians that seize upon them to make empty promises.

Tyler Durden
Mon, 11/29/2021 – 18:20

Author: Tyler Durden

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Energy & Critical Metals

Solid-State Battery Stocks to Charge Up Your Portfolio

Investing in solid-state battery stocks is a bet on the future. If that future becomes a reality, here are the best solid-state battery stocks to invest…

When it comes to electric vehicles, solid-state battery stocks are expected to be the next major breakthrough. Solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes. Whereas current lithium-ion batteries use a liquid polymer or gel.

There are a number of advantages to this type of battery chemistry. The biggest of which are higher energy density, faster charge times and reduced fire risk. Higher energy density may further ease the range anxiety that has surrounded EVs. The same can be said for faster charge times.

That is not to say there aren’t challenges associated with solid-state batteries. Scaling up production is difficult, and that is one reason we haven’t seen them used in large numbers yet. For instance, Toyota plans to introduce solid-state-powered vehicles in 2025. Plus, the cost of these batteries remains high, with current estimates as high as $800/kWh. Li-ion batteries need to hit about $100/kWh for costs to be comparable to internal combustion vehicles.

Thus, investing in solid-state batteries now is a bet on the future. If that future becomes a reality, these batteries have the potential to revolutionize an industry that is already revolutionary.

Here are the best solid-state battery stocks to invest in today:

  • QuantumScape (NYSE: QS)
  • Samsung (KRX: SSNLF)
  • Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE: TM)
  • Panasonic (OTC: PCRFY)

Best Solid-state Battery Stocks

Now that we’ve laid out which are the best solid-state battery stocks, let’s take a closer look.

QuantumScape

QuantumScape (QS) is one of the leading solid-state battery tech stocks today. The company is currently developing lithium-metal cells capable of retaining more than 90 percent of their life over 1,000 charge cycles. With the higher density of solid-state batteries, that could mean just a 10 percent loss of life after roughly 500,000 miles. Further affirming the legitimacy of its technology, QuantumScape has received a $300 million investment from Volkswagen and was backed by Bill Gates in its IPO.

QuantumScape was founded in 2010 and is based in San Jose, California. It went public in late 2020 and currently has a market cap of $12.8 billion. Currently, its stock has an earnings-per-share (EPS) of -3.85 with no earnings posted yet. Unsurprisingly, its share price has remained mostly flat after an initial IPO spike. This isn’t surprising as its batteries won’t appear in production vehicles until 2024 at the earliest. Still, its battery tech is impressive and it has the data to back up its statements.

Samsung

You probably think of Samsung (SSNLF) as a phone and TV manufacturer and less about batteries. Still, batteries are central to making some of those devices work. And Samsung has gotten onboard the solid-state EV battery train. In its March 2020 announcement, Samsung said it was able to increase battery energy density to 900Wh/L. Thus, allowing its prototype to be 50 percent smaller than conventional lithium-ion batteries. That includes an 800-km (497-mile) range and more than 1,000 charge cycles.

Because SSNLF trades over-the-counter, data for the stock is not as robust as other stocks. However, this is a huge company with a market cap of over $422 trillion. It also has a forward dividend yield of 2.66 with an EPS of 4.33. Its revenue for Q3 2021 was $73.98 trillion (about $61.9 billion) compared to $63.67 trillion last year. Its net profit margin was 12 percent compared to 9.6 percent last year.

Keep reading for more information on solid-state battery stocks.

Toyota

There have been many headlines showing that Toyota (TM) doesn’t seem too keen on EVs. And yet, Toyota owns by far the most solid-state battery patents of any company as of 2018. In fact, it has over five times as many solid-state patents as Samsung, the next-largest holder. Hence, Toyota has big intentions for solid-state batteries. In fact, Toyota’s solid-state batteries may be able to go from empty to full in as little as 10 minutes.

Of course, Toyota is another solid-state battery stocks company whose business model is more than just batteries. As such, its market cap is nearly $250 billion. Its stock has a favorable 5.60 P/E ratio and an EPS of 32.08. Plus, it has a forward dividend yield of 4.46. Its share price has increased more than 50 percent during the pandemic. This strong trend is likely to continue.

Panasonic

Panasonic (PCRFY) is another multinational conglomerate that produces everything from cameras to beard trimmers. However, Panasonic is also a big supplier of electric vehicle batteries. Early in Tesla’s history, Panasonic was its sole battery supplier. Although Panasonic recently sold its stake in Tesla, its battery-producing aspirations are far from dead. Indeed, Panasonic is hard at work developing new solid-state battery technology. This will lead to higher performance all-solid-state batteries.

Panasonic currently has a market cap of over $26 billion. Its stock has a P/E ratio of 11.36 with an even 1 EPS. Its share price was at one point more than double its pandemic low; now, it is a little less than that. Forecasts expect the stock to continue to rise, making it a great addition to your list of solid-state battery stocks to invest in. Its Q3 earnings report shows revenue of ¥1.74 trillion (about $15 billion), up 4.43 percent from last year. More impressively, net income and net profit margin were up 30 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Are Solid-state Battery Stocks a Good Investment?

Solid-state batteries have the potential to revolutionize the electric vehicle industry. The benefits of these batteries include higher energy density, longer life and faster charging and reduced fire risk. As a result, several automakers and engineering firms are engaging in the research and development of solid-state batteries.

Still, we likely won’t see these vehicles on the road until at least 2025. In addition, manufacturing is difficult, and the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) remains high. Thus, an investment in solid-state battery stocks right now is a bet on the future. It would be a vote of confidence that solid-state batteries will revolutionize the industry as promised.

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The post Solid-State Battery Stocks to Charge Up Your Portfolio appeared first on Investment U.






Author: Bob Haegele

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