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marcus evans

October 13, 2014 11:18 ET

The Growth in Energy Storage Technology: Minimizing Costs and Operational Risk

Interview With Dr. Michael Kintner-Meyer, Staff Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 13, 2014) - Renewable power is one topic that has significantly changed over the past year and is continuing to rapidly grow in the industry. Energy storage has flourished and more technologies have been discovered to be more useful for companies today. With the release of TESLA patents to the entire industry there is a lot more room for improvements throughout the industry.

Dr. Michael Kintner-Meyer, Staff Scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory recently spoke with marcus evans about key topics to be discussed at their upcoming 5th Electric Energy Storage Conference, January 13-15, 2015 in San Diego, CA.

What is the major difference between storage technology from 10 years ago, compared to the technology available now?

MKM: Safety has become much more of a focus in today's technologies given some of the experiences with fire both on the stationary and the portable applications. DOE is now starting codes standards discussions on safety for stationary applications.

In addition: the flow battery market has matured with some commercially viable products that were at the prototype stages 10 years ago; better system integration between storage medium and balance of plant devices; also, the first emerging protocols of how to measure performance of stationary energy storage systems, which will provide more confidence in new products.

Now that the TESLA patent is open to the public, what effect does this have on the storage industry? Technology-wise? Cost-wise?

MKM: Technology-wise, the impact is limited. It likely has more impact on supply chain than anything else. By opening up, it has the potential to focus a lot of innovation in the supply chain and on BOP that could help reduce total system cost and perhaps reliability. The patent will reduce costs for automotive systems. It isn't clear that it will have any significant impact on grid storage costs except where there may be common BOP components.

How do you test new technologies to make sure that they will work within the smart grid?

MKM: Several SG demos have been conducted, each of which used very application-specific controls strategies. Currently, there is no consensus of how to use energy storage in a SG environment. The closest to a SG application is a protocol recently published by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories with industry stakeholders that provides test procedures for how a storage device may be used in a microgrid setting. However, each microgrid may have different design and controls objectives.

Regarding the testing of new technologies, how do you determine which is worth investing in?

MKM: This is a difficult question. The first question one needs to answer is whether the storage will be used as an energy resource or as a power resource. Based on the answer to that question, certain technologies lend themselves more toward power and others more toward energy applications. KEMA (now DNV GL) has developed a screening tool called ESSelect, which serves as a zero order tool to map storage technologies to applications.

How do you see battery and thermal technology changing in the future? Evolving?

MKM: Both technologies provide FLEXIBILITY to the grid. The need for grid flexibility can only go up from here moving forward -- primarily driven by the integration of intermittent resources (wind/solar) but also by a more dynamic demand sector that will respond price signals or grid emergency conditions (e.g., Buildings and EVs). We see that both technologies have their place. Thermal energy technologies for buildings applications (ice storage) can be deployed at a fraction of that of an electro-chemical energy storage. So for building application, we see a role of thermal energy storage for flexibility in the 3-6 hour range.

Dr. Michael Kintner-Meyer is Staff Scientist at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. He is the Laboratory's lead for energy storage grid analysis and electrification of transportation. Michael received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington and a MS from the University of Aachen, Germany.

This premier marcus evans 5th Electric Energy Storage Conference will focus on the technology successes when implementing new changes into existing storage systems, how companies are overcoming financial barriers and what it is they need in order to succeed and advance even more with energy storage. For more information, please check out the conference agenda or contact Tyler Kelch, Marketing Coordinator, Media & PR, marcus evans at 312-894-6310 or

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