Power Grid Storage Increases Efficiency and Lowers C02 Emissions

Electricity grids that incorporate storage for power sourced from renewable resources could cut carbon dioxide emissions substantially more than systems that simply increase renewably sourced power, a new study has found.

Electrical grids that implement storage for electricity that comes from renewable resources could decrease C02 emissions more than systems which don’t store energy. The study is a first in looking at the role storage has to play in making renewable energy resources more reliable.

Power grids in California and Texas were examined in the study. Then researchers modeled which kinds of storage might make the best use of each type of renewable energy source. Then extrapolated from there how this might all affect C02 emission levels of the modeled grids.

In California it was found that a whole third of energy might not even be collected at all or simply lost from renewable sources without storage. And adding storage to this system reduced C02 emissions by 90 percent.

The study appears in Nature Communications.

Much Ado About Batteries

OSU researchers are making strides in the important area of energy storage—as the need to switch over to renewable energy increases, the world needs more efficient ways to store that energy. The technology may also mean much longer-lasting batteries for mobile devices.

The journal Batteries and Supercaps the researchers have published their new findings focused on a battery’s cathode build. The cathode stores energy via a chemical reaction in a metal-air or metal-oxygen environment. The researchers believe that cheaper and better storage will make power sources like wind and solar much more viable and affordable options at both the power grid and home level.

Renewable energy sources don’t emit carbon dioxide, however many sources (again wind and solar are good examples) are always producing energy to be capture, thus when it is being made in abundance (a sunny or windy day) there needs to be an efficient and long lasting way to store that energy.

OSU, like companies, scientists and governments from all over the world are working on such storage solutions. Some solutions include large lithium-ion batteries. These would be bigger versions of those batteries used in many electric and hybrid vehicles. Other solutions involved batteries literally the size of a big box store using a metal called vanadium. The Ohio State researchers solution is just one of many humanity will need to push forward into the future.