Renewable Energy plays a crucial role in fighting climate change – a major challenge the renewable energy industry is facing is the storage of the energy generated. Because, unlike from lignite or nuclear power, renewable energy generation cannot be controlled at any given time. In order to be able to react flexibly to changes in energy demand, which is vital in today’s economic system, the industry must resort to storage systems. Storage systems are the second major challenge, because the requirements are high: the very cheap/nearly free renewable energy must also remain cheap in order to become established in the market, but many storage systems are still very expensive. This is also due to the fact that it is difficult to keep the amount of energy lost during the conversion of the energy low. New ideas and innovations are therefore needed all the time. The following article presents two European start-ups that offer different and promising technologies in the energy storage sector.
Elestor – Reducing storage costs
The Arnhem (Netherlands) based startup Elestor has an ambitious goal and wants to “reduce electricity storage costs to the absolute minimum”. Using a flow battery, a battery system where (chemical) energy is produced by the reaction between two chemical components that are pumped through the battery, the choice for the chemical components are what makes Elestor unique. Using Hydrogen and Bromine, the startup chose chemicals which are present globally and in large quantities, leading to low-prices for the chemicals. Moreover, hydrogen and bromine enable a high power densitiy as well as a high energy densitiy, leading to lower costs per kWh. Elestor claims that these factors lead to a significant cost reduction compared to other models on the market.
Electrochaea – generating renewable methane
Electrochaea is a german startup headquarterd in Planegg and its company goal is basically the challenge mentioned in the introduction : the integration of fluctating renewables into the electricity grid. The startup has developed a revolutionary and patented system that can be used and is designed for grid-scale. Essentially, the energy storage contains of two steps: First, the renewable energy is used for production of hydrogen. Now, the renewable hydrogen is combined with carbon dioxide and now directed to a biocatalyst in a reactor. Now leaving the reactor is renewable methane which can be directly fed into gas-pipelines.
Image Source: Unsplash, 23.04.2021