Energy Storage: Coal Mines, Molten Salt, and Flow Batteries
Renewables such as wind and solar power, can only generate power when the wind blows or the sun shines, and finding storage for the excess energy renewables produce has been on the rise. Potential has been found in isolated coal mines by using a new type of compressed air energy storage (CAES) process. Using a chamber that can withstand high pressures, coal mines are said to be more affordable and more accessible CAES than other forms of energy storage. More on the topic of CAES can be found here. Salt that is heated to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, has been another solution for energy storage for the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant. The heated salt, which turns into a molten hot liquid, is used to power a generator that produces electricity for up to 10 hours. Read the story on NPR here. Harvard University researcher, Michael Aziz, and his colleagues designed a flow battery, developed to store the oversupply of energy during peak periods and provide homes with electricity during off-hours. More on the breakthroughs of their research can be found here.