Energy Storage Research Gets Stanford Boost

Experts agree that improving energy storage is critical to integrating renewable energy technologies into the U.S. generation portfolio. Despite a few pilot programs in advanced markets, energy storage technologies are largely still out of reach for commercial developers. In an effort to further develop new technologies to improve energy storage capacity on the electricity grid, Stanford University’s Global Climate and Energy Project (GCEP) has awarded $3.5 million to researchers at five universities.

Twelve investigators from across the country will participate in the initiative, focusing on three innovative technologies: enhanced electrolyte energy storage systems; novel solid oxide flow batteries; and low-cost flywheel energy storage (a method of converting stored kinetic energy into electricity through a rotating device.)

energy storage and power grid

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“Finding dependable, low-cost ways to store electricity is the key to future grid reliability, especially given the rapid growth of intermittent renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power,” said GCEP Director Sally Benson, a research professor of energy resources engineering at Stanford.

GCEP is a collaboration of the science and engineering departments at Stanford and industry partners, including ExxonMobil, GE, Schlumberger and Toyota. The program’s industry sponsors will invest a total of $225 million over a decade or more in an effort to develop energy technologies that are efficient, environmentally benign and cost-effective when deployed on a large scale.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).