Energy storage: Secure supply of renewables

Nachhaltigkeit und Klimaschutz | Energy generation from the sun and wind fluctuates and causes supply gaps. To bridge these gaps, thyssenkrupp is working on innovative energy storage systems.

If there is no wind blowing or the sun not shining, this is bad for the electricity supply. Because private but above all industrial power consumers depend on a constant supply around the clock. thyssenkrupp wants to help bridge supply gaps without having to resort to climate-damaging conventional energy sources. Smart Energy Storage Systems is the generic term for such technologies.

Smart energy storage with Redox Flow: thyssenkrupp offers the biggest cell area worldwide

A Redox flow battery i one of them: it stores energy in two tanks filled with salts dissolved in liquid. The liquid is passed through electrochemical cells in which the reaction of charging and discharging takes place. The total active area of the cells determines the maximum capacity of the storage tank. And until now, this was hardly larger than a piece of paper. „However, redox flow batteries with an active cell area of 2.5 square meters are required for wind farms or energy-intensive industrial operations,“ says Gregor Polcyn, Product Manager Redox Flow Batteries at thyssenkrupp.

The technology has already successfully completed test runs at the Ennigerloh pilot plant. The storage solution is to be launched on the market by 2018 and offers capacities in the 3-digit megawatt hour range. Polcyn: „This technology opens up a new field of business for our company in the energy industry“.

Sunlight and wind become hydrogen

Another Smart Energy Storage Systems technology thyssenkrupp is working on is water electrolysis. If overproduction of electricity occurs due to very windy or sunny days, this is used for electrolysis: Electric energy is used to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can be stored as an energy carrier and later converted into electricity again in fuel cells (also for mobility) or gas turbines. It can also be used in the chemical industry to produce methane, methanol and ammonia.

„Water electrolysis is one way of storing energy for a very long time cost-effectively and in very large quantities,“ says product manager Lukas Lüke. „If renewable energies are coupled with water electrolysis, chemical raw materials can be produced completely independently of fossil resources. This provides us with an important building block for a more sustainable society.“

Ein Redox-Flow-Speicher von thyssenkruppEin Redox-Flow-Speicher von thyssenkrupp

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