Why it could be dangerous to pin ‘100% renewable’ badges on microgrid projects

Porto Santo, one of the most recent islands to have announced a battery-based microgrid project. Pic: Animam.photography.

Porto Santo, one of the most recent islands to have announced a battery-based microgrid project. Pic: Animam.photography.

By Jason Deign

Could microgrid developers risk a backlash by over-claiming the extent to which projects can cut fossil-fuel use? That was the question posed to viewers of a webinar on battery storage for microgrids and islands this month.
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Electric or hydrogen-based vehicles? Why not have both alongside each other?

The eye-catching all-electric Tesla might look great for commuting but hydrogen cars could be better for longer drives, H-Tec says.

The eye-catching all-electric Tesla might look great for commuting but hydrogen cars could be better for longer drives, H-Tec says.

By Jason Deign

The debate over whether we should drive battery or hydrogen-based cars has an easy answer, according to Heinrich Gärtner of German hydrogen electrolyser firm H-Tec Systems. We should drive both, he said.
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ITM Power: “significant commercial progress” in latest half-year results

The European Marine Energy Centre, where ITM Power is helping deliver the world's first tidal-powered hydrogen. Photo: Colin Keldie, courtesy EMEC.

The European Marine Energy Centre, where ITM Power is helping deliver the world’s first tidal-powered hydrogen. Photo: Colin Keldie, courtesy EMEC.

By Jason Deign

Hydrogen polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) technology developer ITM Power announced “significant commercial progress” in half-yearly results unveiled this week.
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Interest in using flow batteries for long-duration storage sees ESS raise $13m

Growing interest in flow batteries has helped ESS attract investment from backers including BASF. Pic: ESS.

Growing interest in flow batteries has helped ESS attract investment from backers including BASF. Pic: ESS.

By Jason Deign

ESS Inc, the Oregon, US-based flow battery manufacturer, this week announced USD$13m in new funding from investors including the global chemical industry leader BASF.
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New love for US pumped hydro?

The pumped hydro project on El Hierro, Spain, is failing to meet expectations. The US faces a glut of applications for similar projects, which will face challenges of their own. Pic: Animam.photography.

The pumped hydro project on El Hierro, Spain, is not meeting expectations. The US faces a glut of applications for similar projects, which will face challenges of their own. Pic: Animam.photography.

By Jason Deign

Pumped hydro, the forgotten granddaddy of energy storage, seems back in fashion: records show 19 new project applications were filed in the US this year.
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Europe chases GWh energy storage

The door is opening for technologies such as CAES. Pic: ALACAES.

The door is opening for technologies such as CAES. Pic: ALACAES.

By Jason Deign

Gaelectric’s Larne project funding approval this month has focused attention on European efforts to develop large-scale storage technologies that could rival pumped hydro.

Dublin, Ireland-based Gaelectric was granted €90m in European Union backing for a compressed air energy storage (CAES) project due to be built in Larne, east Antrim, on the Northern Irish coast.

The funding came on top of €15m in previous grants, the BBC reported. The Larne CAES project, due for completion around 2022, is a European project of common interest that will generate up to 330MW of power for up to six hours.

Being developed in association with Dresser-Rand, it will store compressed air in two caverns located in salt deposits below ground. When needed, the air would be re-heated using natural gas and, on expansion, drive a turbine.

The plant’s compressors will also provide up to 250MW of demand response to mop up excess wind capacity on the Northern Irish grid, which only has limited connections to electricity networks on Ireland and Great Britain. 
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