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Tyndall Manchester

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New research, led by Dr Chris Jones, on the environmental aspects of energy storage has been published in Environmental Science and Technology

23 January 2020

A life cycle assessment approach was used to evaluate the potential greenhouse gas savings possible when replacing fossil fuel generators (diesel and natural gas) with energy storage systems (ESS) for electricity grid services.

Material and energy inputs to electricity for grid services

Three technology options for large scale grid storage were studied – liquid air energy storage, vanadium redox flow batteries and lithium iron phosphate batteries. The study is the first to examine liquid air storage in such a way, and also makes a novel contribution in the range of system efficiency, usage rate and recycling assumptions included for all three ESS, and the direct comparison with fossil fuel equivalents.  The authors – Chris Jones, Paul Gilbert and Laurence Stamford – were able to demonstrate the carbon saving potential of the ESS under a wide range of usage parameters when replacing gas and diesel for grid services. The research also highlights the value of having ESS with easy to recycle/reuse components to reduce life cycle environmental impact across all impact indicators. For policy makers it highlights the variation in environmental performance depending on the use and end of life of ESS and therefore recommends policies which incentivise recyclability, high utilisation and lifetime, and not to focus just on nominal system efficiency.

The research, part of the EPSRC MYSTORE project, shows the carbon savings of replacing fossil fuel generators with flow battery, liquid air and lithium energy storage.

Read the full paper at the link below:

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