Energy saving has to do with capturing and storing already produced energy. Effective and cheap storage of energy for a later use is a crucial need within sustainable development. It makes it possible to produce energy without having to consume it directly. Within sustainable development there are many initiatives focused on improving the storage of renewable energy. Hence making it accessible to the greater public. This primarily concerns solar and wind power (hydropower already stores energy in an efficient way).
Global energy storage
Globally, there is a great need for the ability to store green energy in an efficient and cost-effective way. Specifically in relation to the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. So far, the batteries or other techniques that allow for this kind of storage is too expensive as well as not sufficiently effective. Therefore, a cost-effective storage solution could be revolutionary for a sustainable development.
Solar & wind energy storage
As mentioned, the need for innovative solutions mostly concerns solar and wind energy. When it comes to solar, the issue is the most relevant in northern countries, due to the long and dark winters. There, the summer months are producing a very high amount of solar energy. While the winters have a significantly lower production. This requires a system that stores the energy from the summer for the winter. Or more simply put, stores the excessive energy for when it is needed. Today, the energy from the solar cells can be stored with the help of solar cell batteries. However, this is a relatively new and expensive product – particularly for private households.
Batteries are also used to store the power from the wind. Similar to the issue for solar batteries, these types are sold at a very high cost. Another relevant aspect is that batteries often involve unsustainable mining of various minerals. Therefore, researchers are currently working to invent new types of batteries or searching for other more sustainable options.
Another option for energy storage is hydrogen. Among all the technologies that aim to find a way to store energy from one season to another, hydrogen is predicted to have the best potential. Both solar and wind energy can be converted into hydrogen, which is then stored for a later use.
On a global scale, these kind of storage facilities already exist. More so, it is predicted to receive significantly more attention in the future. Both the EU and nations such as Sweden, are currently considering hydrogen as a solution. Furthermore, there is also the ability of using hydrogen in cars, creating hydrogen-powered cars.
When it comes to hydropower, energy storage is an already obvious part of the technique. Large-scale storage of energy takes place due to the dams placed before the power plants. There, water is simply collected and used when needed. In other words the flow of the water is controlled and adapted to the electricity production. In conclusion, there is a great deal of interest in the potential of energy storage today. This is noticeable in the increased investments in renewable energy. If one searchers for “sustainable shares”, there is a growing number of companies with a focus on energy storage. Therefore, it is quite safe to say that these kinds of techniques are part of a sustainable future.