Solar thermal energy storage loses its way

Does phase-change material storage have advantages over molten salt thermal energy storage for a concentrated solar power plant? Photo credit: Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, SolarReserve

Is phase-change material storage better than molten salt thermal energy storage for a concentrated solar power plant? Photo: Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, SolarReserve

Too much salt is not just bad for your health. It could also harm the likelihood of thermal energy storage (TES) cost reduction across the entire concentrated solar power (CSP) industry.

Right now, molten salt TES is seen as critical in justifying the high cost of CSP versus other renewable energy sources, such as solar PV or wind.

TES allows CSP, or solar thermal energy, to deliver stable, round-the-clock power, which is more valuable to grid operators than the intermittent generation provided by renewable alternatives.

But it is just possible that a growing preference for molten salt among CSP developers could hamper the chances of adopting more efficient and cost-effective types of TES.
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Energy storage news headlines

As we reach our second birthday, Energy Storage Report is changing the way it brings you the global energy storage news headlines.

As we reach our second birthday, we are changing the way Energy Storage Report brings you the global energy storage news headlines. Photo credit: Anssi Koskinen

Believe it or not, Energy Storage Report is two years old this week. We’d like to thank the growing number of fans who have followed us via email, online and on Twitter over the last 24 months.

Our annual anniversary is also a time when we take stock of progress and bring in changes that we hope will improve our value to you, our readers.

A year ago we gave up simply re-packaging industry news in order to provide a deeper level of analysis, which seems to have gone down well in terms of bringing in new readers and generating comment.

This year we are ringing the changes again, albeit in a smaller way. For reasons too tedious to mention, we feel there isn’t much value in reproducing our weekly headlines, which already appear in our weekly free newsletter and on our Twitter feed, on our website.

So, effective today, we’ll be dropping the news headlines from our website. As a newsletter subscriber, you will of course continue to get them for free every week in your inbox. If you are not already receiving our newsletter, why not subscribe now? Or, if you want, you can find out about breaking energy storage news as soon as we do, on Twitter.

EU policy: Juncker puts a Spaniard in the works

How will European energy policy be affected by Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy designate. We analyse the background of Junker's proposed candidate from Spain. Photo credit: European Commission

How will European energy policy be affected by Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy designate? Photo: European Commission

In July we cautiously predicted Jean-Claude Juncker’s election as European Commission (EC) president might be good news for energy storage. Now we are not so sure. His choice of energy commissioner appears dubious, to say the very least.

A brief survey of the credentials for Miguel Arias Cañete, Juncker’s proposed EC Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, reveals the veteran Spanish politician is possibly the last person you would want running a low-carbon, green energy agenda.

Cañete, who until recently was Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, has been roundly slammed by environmental groups for having deep links to the fossil fuel industry.

A keen vintage car collector, he formerly ran two petroleum storage businesses and until recently retained 2.5% shares in both of them. This week it was confirmed that he has hurriedly sold the shares off.

But it will be less easy to shake off the fact that during his tenure in the Spanish administration he opened the door to hydraulic fracturing by including it as one of the processes that would be admitted for environmental permitting under a new law.
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Energy storage news: 17.09.14

A supercapacitor made of hemp fibres is as good as a graphene supercapacitor for energy storage, according to Dr David Mitlin of the University of Alberta, Canada.

A supercapacitor made of hemp is as good as a graphene supercapacitor for energy storage, says Dr David Mitlin of the University of Alberta, Canada. Photo credit: Vote Hemp

The energy storage news headlines from our Twitter feed this week.

  • The Strati, the first 3D-printed electric car, was printed in 44 hours at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago on 13 September.
  • The NY-BEST conference and exhibition for the New York energy storage industry has been reviewed by Democrat & Chronicle.

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Tesla Gigafactory: nothing but good news for energy storage

As Reno wins the jackpot to be the location of the Tesla Gigafactory, we look at what it means for Tesla, Nevada and the energy storage industry.

As Reno wins the jackpot to be the Tesla Gigafactory location, we look at what it means for Tesla, Nevada and the energy storage industry. Photo credit: Michael Ocampo

The waiting is finally over. And surprise, surprise, Nevada, the state that never missed an opportunity to bend over backwards for big business (an attitude Bugsy Siegel may have appreciated), has scooped Tesla’s Gigafactory for a mere USD$1.25bn in subsidies over the next two decades.

Okay, let’s park the cynicism over the vast sums corporations squeeze out of the tax-payer and look at the positives of what will be a real game-changer in energy storage, not just for electric vehicles and their drivers, as well as providing a bit of background.
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Energy storage news: 10.09.14

The process of lithium plating taking place during the charging of lithium-ion batteries has been observed by scientists at Technische Universität München, Germany.

The process of lithium plating taking place while lithium-ion batteries charge has been observed at Technische Universität München, Germany. Photo: Andreas Heddergott/TUM

This week’s energy storage news headlines from our Twitter feed.

  • NEC Energy Solutions will supply a large utility in California with a 3.9MWh lithium-ion battery-based grid energy storage system.
  • ABB and BYD have announced a global energy storage collaboration, which will focus on electric vehicle charging, on- and off-grid renewable energy storage, batteries and marine energy storage.
  • WiTriCity plans to dramatically increase its electric vehicle wireless charging power transfer potential.

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