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5.5.- ENERGY STORAGE
Today, energy storage is essential for conventional electricity grids to take a significant step in the decentralization of energy. The problem is that electrical power cannot be stored in its original form, that is, it is necessary to convert it to other forms of energy whose storage is feasible. Some energy storage systems are: water pumping systems, compressed air energy storage systems, flywheels, electrochemical energy storage systems, etc.View more
Basically, the water pumping systems work by propelling water to a high elevation to subsequently use the potential energy accumulated in the water due to the head. Then, the fluid is driven through large pipes, in which hydraulic turbines connected to electric generators are installed. It is a completely renewable process that does not produce greenhouse gas emissions. The drawback is the great environmental impact that these systems cause, since they require important modifications of the terrain for a correct exploitation of the energy resource.
The compressed air energy storage systems, known by the English acronym CAES, are another alternative for the conversion of electrical power into mechanical energy and vice versa. The objective is that when there is an overproduction of energy from wind farms or photovoltaic solar farms, large air compressors that accumulate air in caverns or tanks at high pressure and temperature are activated. When the energy demand grows, this air stored at high pressure is released through valves to propel pneumatic turbines connected to electric generators. The drawback of these systems is that they are not very efficient and require large pressures and volumes per unit of power generated. In addition, air needs a special treatment for the elimination of humidity and the conservation of thermal energy due to the initial compression of the fluid.
The flywheel energy storage systems are a great solution to the energy storage problem. Large flywheels move through variable-frequency drives connected to the grid. These systems convert electrical power into kinetic energy and vice versa. Various technologies are used to transfer the electrical power to the flywheels. Bidirectional inverters, also known as back to back inverters, are one of the alternatives that allow the transfer of electrical power to the flywheels and viceversa.
The electrochemical energy storage systems or batteries are electricity accumulators based on the transformation of electricity into chemical energy. There are several types of batteries, but the most important ones in the electric power systems field are lead-acid batteries, sodium-sulfur batteries, sodium-nickel chloride batteries and lithium-ion batteries. Flow batteries are based on the same principle, although they are large open systems where the fluid is constantly pumped from vessels to the electrodes of the battery, allowing large storage capacities.View Products