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Charting the Future of Energy Storage Technology in Europe

Charting the Future of Energy Storage Technology in Europe

| Jan-Hendrik Ernst, Applications Engineering Manager

Ultracapacitors presentation for the gridJan-Hendrik Ernst, applications engineering manager at Maxwell Technologies, moderates the ultracapacitor session for the development of the European Energy Storage Technology Roadmap 2017 update.

Energy storage is arguably an important area of technological advancement as our world becomes more electrified and our energy system becomes more complex. Energy storage provides a solution for efficient management of energy in our networks by utilities TSOs, DSO industry and consumers. In fact, a wide range of different energy storage technologies will be required to support the challenges of the energy transition.

To construct a multifaceted view of the prevalence of energy storage in Europe, energy storage experts and members of the European Association for Storage of Energy (EASE) and the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA) joined to publish the European Energy Storage Technology Development Roadmap 2017 update. This roadmap provides the industry with a thorough overview of current energy storage technologies deployed in Europe—including chemical, electrical, mechanical and thermal energy storage methods—European and global policy as the driver for energy storage demand, the need for energy storage in European markets and its current and future applications, as well as recommendations for policy, research and development priorities.

Through internal and public circulations and consultations, various opinions of experts and stakeholders have been gathered to create the final version of this roadmap.

Technology roadmap EASE

I had the privilege of contributing to the roadmap’s overview of ultracapacitor (supercapacitor) electrical energy storage. A summary of points on this section:

  • Ultracapacitors, also called supercapacitors or electric double layer capacitors (EDLCs), can be charged and discharged at high power rates thousands of times with low capacitance fade.
  • Relative to batteries, ultracapacitors have very high specific power and low specific and volumetric energy density.
  • Ultracapacitor energy storage is widely commercialized in hybrid bus, automotive and rail applications as well as back-up power applications for wind turbine emergency pitch control and uninterrupted power supplies.
  • The major benefits of ultracapacitor energy storage for electricity grids includes fast response time in milliseconds, high energy efficiency of more than 95% in most cases, high power density, and long calendar and cycle life.
  • The ability to pair ultracapacitors with batteries to "stack” grid services and improve battery lifetime is another driver for increased interest and deployment of hybrid programs.
  • Future research should focus on large-scale demonstration projects particularly for grid applications; ultracapacitors have the most potential for enabling power quality and reliability on the grid.

With the support of industry and government, energy storage technologies will continue to expand and aid the various applications that are in need of efficient, cost-effective solutions.

NEXT: At the Tipping Point: Utilities Prepare Energy Storage Strategies for a Renewables Grid (VIDEO)

JanJan-Hendrik Ernst
Applications Engineering Manager
About this author

Dipl.-Ing. Jan-Hendrik Ernst is applications engineering manager at Maxwell Technologies. Ernst specializes in energy storage system design and consults EMEA clients employing ultracapacitors for a variety of grid energy storage applications, including wayside storage for rail, peak shaving for heavy industry, UPS bridging power, and battery preservation. Ernst consults clients from the design-in phase through the completion of the storage project, providing his expertise in deploying full ultracapacitor storage systems and in the hybridization of grid solutions with batteries. He is a member of the European Association of Storage of Energy (EASE) and is currently contributing research on the role ultracapacitors will play in the grid for the EASE European Energy Storage Technology Development Roadmap for 2030.

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