Symposium Spotlight: "Energy Storage"

January 18, 2017 11:03 AM EST By: Regina Ramazzini

Learn about TechConnect World's Energy Storage symposium and what we can expect to see from innovation and applications in the field. Dr. Imre Gyuk of the Department of Energy, will be chairing the Energy Storage symposium.

  Chris Mensel

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your role within your organization.

I am Imre Gyuk, director of the Energy Storage Research program at the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity. A dozen years ago, when I started this program, deploying batteries as part of the electrical grid was largely an unexplored notion. Since then it has become one of the hottest topics in the electricity business. The Global Energy Storage Data Base, maintained by DOE now shows some 1500 installations worldwide. It is estimated that 6 gigawatts will be deployed in 2017 and over 40 GW by 2022.

Please tell us about Energy Storage - what are the areas of greatest interest/excitement in this field, and what type of applications are possible?

Storage absorbs energy when there is a surplus and gives it back when we need it. As the electric grid develops more and more complexity such a buffer becomes increasingly important to absorb variability. Frequency regulation, decreasing demand charges, ameliorating sharp ramps from wind and solar, and providing resilience to outages are among the important applications of stationary storage systems. But these applications will only become widespread if they are also cost effective. To bring this about there is intensive research going on at National Laboratories, universities, and by private industry to find less expensive battery technologies.

What can we expect to see from innovation and applications in the next 5-10 years?

Energy Storage is a rapidly moving field. Innovative research is improving the technology and exploring “beyond lithium” to find more inexpensive solutions. Flow batteries are already showing promise – with engineered aqueous organic solutions we may be able to go beyond the limitations of metallic electrolytes. But sodium, sulfur, and iron also have potential. And, of course, cost will also go down with volume production. As experience with installations increases we will better understand the benefit streams and the entire process will become streamlined and standardized. In the 5-10 year time frame I would expect energy storage to become ubiquitous as a standard component of infrastructure on the electric grid.

Please tell us about the Energy Storage symposium you chair at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference. What topics are you focusing on, who are the invited speakers.

It has been my pleasure to chair the Energy Storage Symposium for several years now. We have featured distinguished speakers reporting innovative applications as well as cutting edge research in battery chemistry. Among this year’s key speakers we will have Andrea Bianco from E.ON to present on their newly constructed 10MW “Iron Horse” battery energy storage project near Tucson, AZ; Prof. Emma Kendrick from the University of Warwick in the UK will talk about her work on the development of sodium ion batteries; and Prof. Karsten Pinkwart from the University of Applied Sciences in Karlsruhe, Germany, will inform us on his research on flow batteries. There will also be reports on recent storage facilities, analytical studies of business cases, and technical papers on aspects of battery chemistry.

Is there anything else you would like to say about your program at the upcoming TechConnect World Innovation Conference?

The Energy Storage Symposium is embedded in a vast conference that includes focus areas such as Advanced Materials and Manufacturing, Electronics & Microsystems, and Biotech. The attendee will be able to listen in on talks in any of these areas he finds of interest. It will provide an excellent opportunity to converse with scientists in adjacent fields, pick up innovative ideas and techniques, or to identify promising new research topics.


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