The steady depletion of global energy resources due to increased consumption by mankind has contributed to the severe problem of exhausting all available non renewable energy resources such as natural gas, oil, and coal. Energy storage is becoming one of the most important components of power generation, transmission and distribution, and consumption management. Energy storage has become a hot topic in the industry in the last couple of years. Energy storage can save the utilities, and their customers, money by eliminating the need for expanding new transmission lines and infrastructure.
One of the hot topics in Lithium-ion battery powered energy storage. Lithium-ion batteries are doing far more than simply power laptops and smartphones, but are being used in high-performance cars like the Tesla Model S and the Chevy Bolt. They are also being deployed to overcome the intermittency of renewable energy sources like solar and wind and to replace inefficient peaker plants that run only in times of high demand. While the lithium-ion battery is the dominant technology used in ESS, many worry about the harmful consequences when procuring the rare mineral. Li-ion battery containing cobalt is not only hazardous to the environment due to its toxic nature, but is also found and mined in a select “conflict areas” around the world where human rights (i.e. child labor in DRC) are often violated. Researchers are hard at work pursuing three basic strategies. The first is to simply replace Lithium with another metal, such as Magnesium, Calcium or Zinc. These are much cheaper materials and may have dramatically higher energy density potential than the present technology. Another strategy is to replace intercalation with a chemical reaction that can store and then release energy, such as when Lithium and Sulfur combine to form Li2S. The final strategy is to use liquid flow batteries. These tend to be much heavier and larger, so are less suitable for car batteries, but have tremendous potential to provide utility-scale grid storage that can help make renewable energy both practical and affordable.
Nevertheless, promising technologies such as flow battery and fuel cell are poised to scale-up and offer alternative storage solutions sometime in the near future. Efficient and cost-effective storage is the next hurdle that needs to be overcome in the move to higher penetration of renewable energy in the grid. However, energy storage will continue to see advances as more manufacturers enter the market and the industry continues to expand and mature. To assist CIOs in identifying the most reliable companies to partner with, a distinguished panel consisting of CEOs, CIOs, analysts, and Energy CIO Insights’ editorial board has assessed and shortlisted some of the most prominent organizations in the industry. We present to you – “Top 10 Energy Storage Solution Providers – 2019”.