Energy storage provides a variety of socio-economic benefits and environmental protection benefits. Energy storage can be performed in a variety of ways. Examples are: pumped hydro storage, superconducting magnetic energy storage and capacitors can be used to store energy. Each technology has its advantages and disadvantages. One essential differentiating characteristic of the different technologies is the amount of energy the technology can store and another is how fast this energy can be released. This technology description focuses on Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES).
Next to the other energy storage technologies, such as phase change materials, batteries and CAES, pumped hydro is another option for energy storage. Pumped hydro storage uses two water reservoirs which are separated vertically. In times of excess electricity, often off peak hours, water is pumped from the lower reservoir to the upper reservoir. When required, the water flow is reversed and guided through turbines to generate electricity.
One of the disadvantages of modern lightweight construction is its lack of thermal mass, which means this type of building can overheat in the summer and can’t retain heat in the winter. Often, heating and cooling systems are installed to maintain temperatures within the comfort zone. However, it is also possible to replicate the effect of thermal mass of the building using phase change materials (PCM).
Energy storage technologies have a large role to play in a low-carbon society. For instance, energy storage helps to address renewable energy intermittency. Storing either electrical or thermal energy prolongs the period in which renewable energy can deliver its energy, and deliver it when the demand is there. Moreover, energy storage technologies can be used as an energy efficiency measure in structures by making smart use of heat and cold storage. This reduces the need for heating and cooling in the structure.