Talks 2nd Symposium, 2015

Research into energy storage involves multiple disciplines and covers a wide range of technologies and issues, from science, engineering and policy. The UK has a strong tradition in science and engineering relevant to energy storage, coupled with growing interest from industry and policy makers in the role of energy storage in both low carbon transport and low carbon energy systems. This has resulted in increasing recognition of the need to bring this diverse energy storage community together. To this end, the Research Council Energy Programme has funded two integrating programmes which bring together academia, industry and policy makers across the UK, and seeks to build links with international partners: the Energy Storage Research Network (ESRN) and the Energy Storage SUPERGEN Hub (Energy SuperStore). The presentation will provide an overview of the research and activities within these programmes, as well as offer an introduction to the speakers own research in flow, lithum and zinc-air batteries, including the use of tomography to resolve battery electrode microstructure.

Battery Section

In the last few years, research to determine the most suitable anode and cathode materials for Na-ion batteries has gained an increased attention. It was a great surprise to discover that pure commercially available elements such as Sb, Sn, or P [1-3] can react electrochemically with Na, leading to sustainable reversible capacities as high as 500 mAh/g over more than 100 cycles when carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) binder is used. These results were unexpected, especially if we compare them to the Li-ion systems. The most commonly used Li-ion binder, polyvinylidene difluoride (PVDF), was reported to not work in the sodium system but no further investigation was done to understand the chemical reasons... please see book of abstracts for the complete text.


Li-ion batteries for use in Public Transportation Infrastructure
Dr. Dipl.-Ing. Timothy Patey
(ABB Schweiz, Baden)

In this presentation, high power Li-ion battery use cases for public transportation are described. Li-ion battery material and design are done to reflect these challenging power and lifetime requirements. A battery model which simulates electric,thermal, and aging behavior is introduced as a method to predict battery lifetime and to study the impact of system and design variables.
High temperature Thermal Energy Storage (TES) is one of the key technologies for energy conservation. Initially exploited by solar energy plants for backup and dispatch purposes, it is nowadays a technological sector generating a renewed interest, a field where future energy production, distribution and management scenarios are bringing new research challenges. TES systems are usually large-scale apparatuses and hence their experimental testing is a very expensive process. Therefore, numerical modeling and simulation are of paramount relevance to push forward R&D activities in this field.

Hydrogen Section


Adiabatic CAES: The ADELE-ING project

Dr. -Ing. Stefan Zunft (DLR, Deutschland)

Adiabatic compressed air energy storage is a promising concept for large-scale electricity storage and a key element for the flexibilisation of tomorrow’s energy system. In the course of the German projects ADELE and ADELE-ING numerous open questions of the technology have been addressed and resolved. The technical feasibility of components and system has been confirmed and a large number of potential sites in Europe has been identified. From a number of system configurations a ranking of the most favored options has been elaborated. Also, a substantial cost reduction potential has been tapped: The specific investment costs of the ADELE-technology could be reduced to the level of pumped hydro plants.
A challenge in the production of Hydrogen from renewable energy using water electrolysis at low current density (ca. 10 mA cm–2, especially useful for disperse renewable energy like solar) is the identification of inexpensive and scalable catalysts materials to reduce the overpotential required to drive the water oxidation and reduction reactions. While Platinum is traditionally used for the water reduction half-reaction, it is not scalable to the terawatt range necessary. Abundant transition metal compounds (e.g. MoS2) have been identified as promising replacements for Pt in this application. We have recently developed a novel way to solution process natural (bulk) MoS2 into thin film electrodes. Subsequently we have demonstrated that these electrodes have high activity for water reduction at low overpotential (0.2 V at 10 mA cm–2) even with only a few atomic layers of (solution-processed) MoS2... Please see book of abstracts for the complete text.

Synthetic Fuel Section

The sunfire project began in May 2012 and follows two main goals:
1. Construction and operation of a High-Temperature Electrolyser, which reaches an electrical efficiency level (LHVH2/kWel) of well over 90% (for 10kWel) under pressure.
2. Construction and operation of a pilot plant for the production of hydrocarbon from CO2 and H2O with an efficiency level of >65% ((LHVH2/kWel).
The full process of the production of hydrocarbon consists in Steam-electrolysis, CO2-RWGS-conversion and Fischer-Tropsch-Synthesis. After thorough lab-tasting of the process, the sunfire pilot plant was erected and presented to the public on 14 November 2014 in the presence of Minister Prof. Johanna Wanka... Please see book of abstracts for the complete text.

Technology Interaction Section

A uniform methodology comprising techno-economic analysis and environmental assessment using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for electrical and thermal storage is developed and presented in this study, together with its first application for two different energy storage (ES) technologies, i.e. (a) power to gas and (b) battery storage. Scenarios are defined (schematically represented in Figure 1) to assess ES technologies, in which different reference energy systems e.g. building/districts, industry and mobility) are considered, with different energy supplies to meet different demand loads. The benefits brought by ES are identified in each scenario, and the Swiss regulatory context including market and policy trends are considered in order to quantify the economic and environmental performance of ES technologies under different conditions. Please see book of abstracts for the complete text.
Renewable energy, available during times of low demand, might fail to reach the power grid and is a missed opportunity to protect the climate – and also expensive, too, since network operators e.g. in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, have to pay around EUR 25 million per year in compensation as they are sometimes unable to accommodate the wind power primarily produced in the North Sea within an electric grid which is already on the verge of being overloaded. The new ESI Platform at PSI is investigating one possible solution to this problem: a technology known as “power-to-gas”, which involves converting excess renewable electricity into an energy-rich gas such as hydrogen or methane (synthetic natural gas. This enables surplus electrical energy to be stored in the form of chemical energy. The gaseous energy carriers can be kept for a long time and transported a large distance before being converted back into electricity or heat as and when needed. The power-to-gas concept consists of two steps: first, the surplus electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen with the aid of an electrolyzer. In the second step, the hydrogen is processed further into synthetic natural gas (methane) by adding CO2. Please see book of abstracts for the complete text.