The federal Department of Energy (DOE) recently launched an initiative cutting the cost of long duration battery storage by 90 percent within a decade. The Long Duration Earthshot will provide funding for projects trying to make new types of storage technology – including storage for solar energy – commercially viable by 2030.
The definition of long duration storage remains vague. This is mainly because it’s a newer part of the energy mix. One industry expert commented half-jokingly to Greentech Media that it includes everything from batteries capable of discharging power for six hours to technologies able to release energy for up to 1,000 hours. Mateo Jaramillo, co-founder of battery start-up Forum Energy, added, “It’s time we start moving away from the designation of hours and start describing storage in terms of the function it can provide.”
The Department of Energy’s Earthshot seeks to develop the most promising technologies in this area. Its definition of long duration is any technology that can release energy for 10 hours or more.
Electrochemical batteries, like flow batteries, are one of the most promising prospects. The DOE will also consider mechanical and thermal options for long duration storage. Some interesting prospects include compressed air storage, pumped hydro, and block stacking.
“We’re going to bring hundreds of gigawatts of clean energy onto the grid over the next few years, and we need to be able to use that energy wherever and whenever it’s needed,” explained Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.