Needs for significant improvements in energy storage technology have emerged as one of the foremost challenges that the world is facing today. Large scale, efficient energy storage is a key technology for achieving better efficiency and enhanced environmental performance for the international energy sector. In fact, most countries have few, if any, means of storing energy on a large scale. Lacking storage capabilities have significant implications on the way energy is used and priced, and does also imply great obstacles to introduction on a large scale of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.
NEST AS has developed a technology for large-scale, stationary energy storage. The solution is Patent Pending and the technology is described in detail in reports and drawings. The storage concept is scalable to almost an unlimited degree and can easily be built by standardized modules of inexpensive material. The system, which stores energy in form of heat, can easily be connected with thermal power plants and thereby facilitate a variable and optimal energy delivery from such sources. Equally important, the energy storage system can be adapted in terms of thermal regime and storage capacity to almost any type of fossil fuel (coal, oil, gas) or nuclear power plant. Remarkably, this may be done without any significant loss of energy.
The system may also be connected with regional or local electrical power grids to store energy for the purpose of responding to variable industry and consumer demands in short and long time cycles. In such case there will be a significant loss of energy due to conversion from heat back to electricity; however, the storage can operate in a high temperature regime where such loss becomes as small as virtually possible within the limitations of the physical laws of thermodynamics. Solar, wind and wave power are generally looked upon as main sources of renewable power for the future. Unfortunately such power sources are not continuous in their delivery of power and are to a large extent also unreliable because of their dependence of weather conditions. Being able to store energy when available and deliver when needed is of great value within the contexts of meeting market needs and reliability of delivery. The current energy storage technology can provide solutions that provide significant value in such contexts. The storage makes use of mainly inexpensive and energy friendly materials that are readily available almost anywhere; this implies that the capital cost per unit energy storage capability will be relatively low. The system is very safe and may without problems be built within cities or industrial areas.