Handbook Energy Storage

The research work of the SCCER focused on scientific and engineering issues as well as on socioeconomic aspects. The SCCER has created tools to answer critical questions regarding systemic issues and environmental sustainability.

Energy Storage Handbook is available in Deutsch, in English and in French.

Key messages:

1. Energy storage is crucial for the successful implementation of the Energy Strategy 2050. A variety of storage
technologies will balance out short- and long-term energy fluctuations foreseen at an increased share of intermittent renewable energy sources and strengthen the resilience of the Swiss energy supply.

2. From today's perspective, the Energy Strategy 2050 is technically achievable. The necessary storage technologies are already available, are currently on the market, have proven to be commercially sound or are at least demonstrably feasible.

3. Investments in storage infrastructure are economically sustainable. They replace the enormous recurrent expenditure of CHF 12 billion annually on imported energy sources, such as oil, gas and uranium, with facilities
that utilise locally available renewable energy.

4. The use of energy storage technology increases the energy efficiency of the overall energy system, improves
its environmental compatibility, enables the integration of renewable energy and reduces local and global risks.

5. Seasonal energy storage systems are necessary for a climate-neutral society in order to replace fossil fuels
for both the transport sector and for heat generation in winter.

6. Grid fees, together with the taxation of stored electricity and the subsidisation of fossil fuels through inappropriate CO2 prices, are hampering the competitiveness of available storage technologies.

7. Batteries, compressed air storage, pumped hydro storage, heat storage as well as power-to-X systems are
able to absorb the increasing supply of electricity produced in summer and make it available again in the medium term or, even later, in a different season.

8. Today, 50 percent of Swiss energy consumption is used to generate heat. Heat storage systems therefore play
a significant role in the success of the Energy Strategy 2050, since they accommodate seasonal fluctuations
in demand. By optimising materials, heat storage facilities can be made more compact, thereby reducing
space and land requirements, which are so critical for Switzerland.

9. The SCCER research and development work enables the optimisation of the energy efficiency of individual
storage systems and a reduction in the use of critical materials such as precious metals (in catalytic systems)
or cobalt (in Li-ion batteries).

10. By linking the energy and chemicals industries, power- to-X systems represent essential technologies that
enable a renewable energy economy based on hydrogen, methane and methanol. They pave the way to a
society that can relinquish fossil fuels.

11. The SCCER HaE has developed a highly efficient compressedair storage system, suitable for medium term
storage, that can be implemented in Switzerland.

Various scenarios have been studied to investigate how storage solutions in the energy system should be developed, temporally and spatially, in order to sustainably meet energy demand at all times. The role power-to-X can play was examined separately in a white paper15 together with three other SCCERs. In the field of  economical life cycle assessment, a comparative analysis of Li-ion and Na-ion batteries showed that although the Na systems use more environmentally friendly components, they do not perform better than the Li systems in the overall balance since they require twice the amount of resources.

A wide range of different storage technologies is required to cover the whole field optimally in terms of space, time and application.

The SCCER has proven in numerous demonstrations that storage technologies are essentially available and usable. Now it is necessary, above all, for political decisions to be taken in the interests of a coherent energy policy in order to reduce the regulatory obstacles that currently impede or make impossible the economical use of energy storage. This can guide business models and investment decisions necessary to advance the technologies developed in the SCCER and bring them from the laboratory into the ultimate energy system of the Energy Strategy 2050. 

The first chapter of the handbook deals with the socio-economic superstructure of the topic and forms the outline of a climate-friendly energy system.
The following two chapters highlight in detail the storage systems that the SCCER has been investigated. The technological and economic opportunities and obstacles are discussed.