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Energy Matters’ comments on renewable energy storage systems

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Energy Matters  offer inputs on renewable energy storage systems. According to Energy Matters, large scale renewable energy storage systems face the challenge of storing electricity generated by solar power and wind energy systems.

In large scale systems such as solar and wind farms higher storage capacity is vital when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine, so that the mains grid can receive a continual supply. The two solutions that are available are molten salt storage systems and ultracapacitors, also known as super capacitors.

Engineers and scientists at The University of Texas at Austin announced a breakthrough that can lead to storing large quantities of electricity in ultracapacitor devices.

The researchers have been investigating the use of a one-atom thick structure called "graphene" (a form of carbon) that could double the capacity of ultracapacitors, which use a different form of carbon.

Graphene's surface area of 2630 m2/gram (almost the area of a football field in about 1/500th of a pound of material) means that a higher number of positive or negative ions in the electrolyte can form a layer on the graphene sheets, resulting in high levels of stored charge.

The technology has the potential to store electricity for renewable energy systems, and improve efficiency and performance of electric, hybrid cars and other forms of transportation, along with smaller devices, such as office and communications equipment.

Deep cycle batteries are the popular way to store electricity generated by renewable energy. Yet, Ultracapacitors are becoming suitable for high-end industrial uses, small electronics - and home off grid solar power systems.

The advantages of ultracapacitors include:

  • Higher power capability, longer life,
  • A wider temperature operating range
  • Lighter
  • Flexible packaging and
  • Lower maintenance

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