Abu Dhabi's Masdar Institute is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop an advanced energy storage system with plans to demonstrate the technology by early 2017.
Masdar said the Redox Flow Batteries (RFBs) would bolster renewable energy projects in the UAE, and the technology would be significantly cheaper than the types of batteries in use currently.
The RFBs would better store electrical energy as chemical energy and convert it back into electrical energy when needed.
“Currently, flow batteries have certain voltage and temperature limitations. So the project is to innovate [certain components] for the system to achieve higher efficiency of energy transfer,” said Dr Steve Griffiths, Masdar’s executive director of institute initiatives.
The energy storage project is in its two-year research and development phase, and is expected to advance to its demonstration phase in 18 months’ time, which would likely begin with a simulation at Masdar City.
“There are a few solutions in the market today, but they tend to be expensive and cannot be used in all the operating environments that require renewable energy uptake,” said Saif Al Mheiri, an assistant professor of engineering at Masdar.
One of the main challenges facing the renewable energy sector is storing wind and solar energy. Both energy forms are intermittent, or only available at certain times. Presently, expensive fuel cells are mainly used for storage and are uneconomical for many projects.
Should its energy storage system be a success, it would advance the UAE’s standing in the global energy storage market, which is expected to reach US$113.5 billion in the next two years.
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