Rising demand for renewable energy means that system and grid operators need to transmit ever-growing volumes of volatile photovoltaic and wind power through their networks. While this is a welcome shift toward a greener future, transporting more renewables through existing power grids also triggers many challenges.
If we compare wind and photovoltaic farms with fossil or nuclear baseload plants, one thing is clear: For the same volume of electricity generated, intermittently produced renewables create much higher power peaks. That makes grid capacity a big concern for the renewable power industry. A costly endeavour, grid infrastructure like power lines and substations will need upgrading and increasing in capacity to cope with these higher peaks.
As a second challenge, the fluctuating availability of wind and solar energy makes it necessary to build renewable plants at remote sites that are often far from actual power consumption. In Germany, for instance, large volumes of volatile wind power are generated on the windy Northern coast, and increasingly offshore, which means considerable volumes have to be transmitted to the more industrialized south of the country. To bridge that long-distance gap, extensive high-voltage direct current lines are being planned to connect wind generation in the north and high demand in the south.
Both the above challenges can be addressed by CMBlu’s breakthrough organic flow battery technology. Here, the grid or system operator can install our batteries upstream of grid bottlenecks and shift the power transfer to times of lower generation. This is going to flatten the transmission curve, reduce the need to upgrade grid capacity, and save costs and resources. And the longer the transmission paths, or the more complex the power grid, the greater the savings.
Of course, these grid-driven benefits of our organic flow batteries are bolstered by other added-value applications: Free battery capacity can be temporarily allocated to the electricity markets – so energy arbitrage in the day-ahead and real-time or intraday markets – together with ancillary services present considerable added revenue potential.