With climate change upon us, governments around the world are developing sustainable city projects offering a glimpse of life without fossil fuel dependence. Which clean technologies will green cities contain, and why is long-duration energy storage the most important one of all?
To mitigate the effects of global warming and reach our decarbonization goals, we need to adapt the way we do things today. That’s why governments and local authorities in countries the world over are re-thinking the planning of cities, communal living spaces, and surrounding infrastructure. Now more than ever, the concept of environmentally and socially responsible urban areas is an appealing one.
Innovative solutions can help us transform our cities and build new ones in a smarter way. Moreover, as modern living spaces will be enormously reliant on renewable energy to source their power, long-duration energy storage – or LDES – will play a vital role in making this vision a reality.
Here are some of the exciting innovations we can expect to find in tomorrow’s climate-friendly cities, all of which are underpinned by existing LDES solutions.
One: Solar panels
Many renewable cities will have solar technologies installed to capture and make use of abundant sunlight, but to achieve a high renewable penetration we need to deploy sufficient energy storage capacity.
Solar is an intermittent energy source. To maximize use of it, LDES is required to add a control function. By storing excess solar energy generated during the day for use at night (or during periods of low availability), we can make it more accessible and cost-effective for city residents and businesses.
Two: Wind turbines
The sun isn’t the only natural resource we can do more to harness! Smart cities will also incorporate other renewable energy sources, and wind is a leading technology. Wind turbines need long-duration energy storage to help manage fluctuations in power output, caused by variations in wind speed.
Three: Electric vehicles (EVs) and advanced transportation
We’re already seeing the shift toward electric vehicles on our roads. This is set to further increase in the renewable cities to come, where driving an electric car or commuting on an electric bus will be the norm.
Long-duration energy storage is part of the EV revolution. LDES will be used to store excess clean energy during low demand periods, and supply electricity during peaks or overnight, to ensure consistent EV charging.
In the near future, we may even see autonomous vehicles and other advanced transportation systems introduced to reduce congestion and emissions. These systems will also require reliable renewable energy, with different types of LDES ready to ensure its availability for prolonged periods of days, weeks, or seasonally.
Four: A smart energy grid
The city of tomorrow needs the grid of tomorrow. As our population centers undergo a renewable re-design, smart grid systems will be needed to offer flexibility, and align supply and demand. This becomes especially important with the introduction of new clean energy streams on a large scale. Such optimization can be provided with the deployment of decentralized LDES.
Five: Desalination and purification
For cities in water scarce regions, desalination and purification will be critical. These are energy intensive processes which need to run continuously on renewables. LDES adds resiliency with the provision of clean power supply, day and night.
Desalination is a process that removes salt and other minerals from seawater, brackish water, or other types of water with a high salt content. This makes it safe for human consumption or use in agriculture (in processes like irrigation) and industry. Desalination can involve reverse osmosis, distillation, or electrodialysis – to separate the salt and other impurities, leaving behind pure water that’s safe to drink.
Six: Hydroponic agriculture and vertical farming
In smart cities we’ll likely be buying more food locally. The reason for this? Vertical farms or hydroponic greenhouses in densely populated areas, where there’s limited space for more traditional methods of growing.
Because vertical farming can take place close to where we reside, it saves on transportation, reducing cost and CO2 emissions. It also requires less water than horizontal farming, while boosting yields. This makes it a leading type of agriculture for the green city model.
However, vertical and hydroponic processes do provide a challenge. They need to maintain a controlled environment year-round, with constant regulation of lighting and temperature. This requirement can be met with renewable energy sources, when combined with LDES.
Find out more about hydroponic agriculture and how it benefits from long-duration energy storage here.
Vertical farming is a method of growing crops in vertically stacked layers or structures, typically in a controlled environment like a greenhouse. The method usually involves the use of artificial lighting, and advanced irrigation and fertilization systems.
Seven: Intelligent building systems
Energy efficiency is a big part of the renewable transition. The next generation of city will include buildings designed with advanced systems to optimize energy flows and reduce waste. LDES is a technology which can capture excess energy and put it to use. As an example, some types of thermal energy storage (TES) systems can utilize heat to generate electricity.
Eight: Data centers
Each of us already has a huge digital footprint and much like today, future cities will need to host data centers. Large groups of servers use a lot of energy to store and process vast amounts of information. To run these centers sustainably and continuously, long-duration energy storage is needed to supply cost-efficient electricity.
The solution for a renewable city
In the absence of fossil fuel generation, industries within our future cities will depend on accessible and affordable clean electricity and heat, delivered from a smart and flexible grid. The energy system must integrate renewables at the levels needed to achieve net-zero, while balancing supply and demand.
It’s a complex task, but long-duration energy storage will get us there. It can provide stable clean power in a technologically advanced city, helping drive everything from sustainable agriculture to decarbonized transportation. That’s why LDES is the central technology enabling all others in the city of tomorrow.
What are we doing at Azelio?
Azelio’s LDES system, TES.POD®, charges with renewable sources such as solar PV and stores energy in a recycled aluminum alloy. The system generates clean electricity and heat, available on demand to close the 24-hour supply cycle.
Azelio is a Swedish cleantech company. We have developed an ingenious long duration energy storage technology, providing dispatchable electricity and usable heat for all hours of the day – with zero emissions and at a very competitive cost.
417 56 Gothenburg
© Azelio 2023