Energy storage is the process of harnessing energy in the present, with the goal of using it in the future. Energy is stored in batteries or accumulators, until it is needed. There are several types of energy that can be produced and stored, such as chemical, electricity, radiation, and kinetic. In order to store energy, it needs to be converted from one form to another more convenient and storable form. Current technologies are able to store the energy for short-term or long-term, depending on the source. There are several methods of energy storage, some of them are natural and some are designed to be used for industries. This guide goes over some of the most common methods.
Hydroelectricity uses water to produce the energy. Hydroelectric dams store water in reservoirs, during low demand periods, and release it, in high demand periods. These dams are one of the most efficient types of energy storage. They can start up within a few minutes, using the powerful turbines that are part of the hydroelectric dams.
Pumped storage is the biggest capacity form of energy storage available today. It provides 99% of the bulk energy storage throughout the entire world. Pumped storage sends water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir, when electricity isn't in high demand. Once the demand grows, the water is put back in the lower reservoir. When the water rushes through the turbine, it produces electricity.
Thermal storage is the temporary storage of heat. Melting one metric ton of ice will capture approximately 300 megajoules of energy. Some communities receive all their heat from using solar-thermal collectors on their properties. The latent heat storage systems have a high storage capacity and make it more sensible to use as a heat and energy source, in certain temperature ranges.
Rechargeable batteries use electrochemical energy storage to work. They are a convenient way to store energy and come in many different sizes. They have less impact on the environment than standard batteries. Many mobile devices use rechargeable batteries.
There are many applications in your everyday life that store energy. Some of these you may see and not even realize it, like a windmill. In the warmer months, anytime you run your air conditioner, you are using a source of stored energy. The A/C unit uses thermal stored energy, by creating ice at night and then using that ice to produce cold air. Your cell phone uses a rechargeable Lithium battery, which is another method of energy storage.
For more information, talk to companies like Fractal Energy Storage Consultants.