Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS)

A battery energy storage system (BESS) is a system that stores energy to be used at a later time.
This storage system makes use of  battery technology. There are a large range of battery technologies that form the generic term Battery Energy Storage System.

Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS)

Types of Batteries

  • VRLA or valve regulated lead acid batteries.

    These are the traditional batteries used in Uninterruptible Power Supplies and in existence since 1934. Therefore the cost is relatively low in comparison to other battery technologies. Deep cycle VRLA batteries are the type most suited to energy storage.But always ensure that they have a long enough life span for your BESS.

  • Lithium Ion batteries.

    This type of battery is commonly found in modern consumer electronics such as your smartphone.
    They have a high energy density with the potential for even higher capacities (lithium ion technology is constantly changing and improving).
    The main benefit with lithium ion batteries are that they can be charged and discharged more often that VRLA batteries.
    This means less deterioration in terms of storage capacity and longevity of product.
    The main downside is cost although the price will reduce over time.

  • Vanadium Flow batteries.

    This battery uses vanadium ions to store chemical potential energy.
    They are currently quite bulky in size but offer the ability to completely discharge without any adverse effects.
    And they long life time (20+ years).

  • Sodium Nickel batteries

    These batteries use molten salt as the electrolyte.
    This allows the batteries to withstand greater temperature extremes.
    Because the cells themselves operate at 270+ degrees Celsius.
    As well as they’re well  insulated so that the external chassis remains just above ambient room temperature.

  • Liquid metal batteries.

    This battery technology uses liquid metals as both the electrodes and the electrolyte.
    As there is a constant regeneration between cycles, the electrodes do not degrade with time.
    The cost of liquid metal is currently the main stumbling block.

Whether the type of Battery Energy Storage System you must carry out battery maintenance.

As well as Battery Energy Storage Systems, there are a number of other energy storage systems both currently available.
Many more are under development.

Alternative Energy Storage Systems

  • Compressed air storage –

    this involves storing air under pressure which can later be used to spin turbines and produce electricity

  • Molten salt storage –

    this involves storing energy as heat rather than a chemical storage (e.g. battery) or gravitational potential energy (e.g. hydro-electric). Heat is stored within the salt, which becomes molten due to the high temperature.
    When power is required, this molten salt can then be used to heat water.
    Which in turn spins steam turbines and generates electricity.

  • Hydro-electric pumped storage –

    Water is stored behind dams in reservoirs and released when required to generate electricity.
    Once the water has passed through the turbines, it is normally kept in a lower reservoir.
    Later it’s re-pumped, during the night, to the top reservoir to be used again.

  • Flywheel storage –

    Rotating flywheels store energy as kinetic energy which can then be released.
    This is typically for relatively short periods of time (e.g. 30 seconds) although some flywheel systems allow up to 4 hours.
    What is a Flywheel UPS?

hydro electric pumped storage

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