Slides form a class on Energy Storage presented to a joint ASHRAE-Alabama Solar Association meeting in Huntsville, Alabama, on Thursday, January 14, 2016:
The sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow, streams powering micro-hydro don’t always flow. Some form of energy storage is key to practical use of energy storage.
When we think of energy storage, we usually think of the lead-acid storage battery, but few of us have these installed in our home. Almost all homes and many office buildings do, however, have another common energy storage device–the water heater. few of us go on a picnic without another form of energy storage–the ice chest. Almost all construction crews have an insulated water jug storing ice and water under enough pressure from the water level to fill a drinking cup.
Think of all these technologies applied on a larger scale. Banks of lead-acid or more exotic batteries can store enough electricity to power the most lavish homes through the night, and they can be recharged by solar panels during the day. Smaller grid-tied hybrid systems could provide the full power of a large solar array during the day and a limited supply of emergency power during lengthy power outages.
Ice storage tanks can store heat–OK store cold, the lack of heat–created from solar arrays during the day and thawed to cool the building at night. Small communities store water in elevated water tanks to provide water as customers need it. Consider water towers filled with solar-powered pumps during the day and available for use day and night. Or maybe a farmer wants to fill livestock watering troughs during the day so animals can drink at their leisure.
What are other energy storage ideas you can think of?