What is long-duration energy storage?

In a new Energy Storage Insights series, Azelio breaks down everything you need to know about storage technologies. In part one, we tackle the big question: what is long-duration energy storage?

Most of us understand the importance of stored energy as a principle. Whether we’re charging our mobile phones, driving our electric vehicles, or replacing the batteries in our TV remote control, storing and releasing energy helps power our daily lives.

Where does the stored energy come from, and how does that impact our use of it? These are interesting questions in today’s world, where not everyone has direct access to reliable electrical grid power. Take South Africa as a prime example. An ongoing electricity crisis is restricting businesses and end-users in their everyday activities. But this is a problem all over the globe. People living in areas under served by the grid need affordable energy that doesn’t involve burning a polluting fossil fuel.

Harnessing the power of nature

Enter long-duration energy storage, or LDES, which is an important technology for all of us. LDES does exactly what it sounds like. It stores energy for an extended period. When the energy we’re storing comes from renewable sources that we normally can’t rely on to give us power 24/7, LDES provides an exciting possibility! Renewable energy can be controlled and harnessed in a sustainable and cost competitive way. When the wind stops blowing or the sun disappears, energy is dispatched from the storage as clean power, in the form of heat, electricity, or both.

No more interruptions

Making wind and solar available around-the-clock is a game changer for people and industries. LDES can supply clean energy on demand, in communities that have grown used to blackouts and interruptions. Imagine a rural dairy farming operation that needs reliable power for refrigeration so that it’s produce isn’t wasted. Clean power day and night leads to reduced costs, increased food security, and a sustainable business.

Long-duration energy storage works with solar and wind, and maximises our access to renewable energy.

How long is long-duration?

Here’s a popular question when talking about LDES: what length of time can long-duration technologies store energy for? Different definitions of long-duration exist, but here’s a useful starting point.

Duration of Storage

SHORT-DURATION – Solutions like typical battery systems mainly provide power for quick start-up between 4-6 hours.
LONG-DURATION – These systems typically serve the growing need for 8-18 hour flexibility.
BEYOND – Some solutions store energy for weeks or even on a seasonal basis.

Next time in Energy Storage Insights

In part 2 of our series, we dive deeper into the global drivers for LDES. Why do we need it in our society?

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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.

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