An Underwater Battery To Store Wind Energy

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Looking at wind turbines, you might wonder, “Where does all the energy go?” You might think it’s used immediately, or stored away until needed. However, the reality might surprise you.

Due to a lack of long-term storage options, most energy from wind farms is lost. In fact, during 2020, electricity that could have powered 2 million homes was wasted for this reason!

Wind power relies heavily on the weather. This presents problems when the wind isn’t blowing. Wind farms are also dependent on the fluctuation of supply and demand. If the demand for electricity exceeds the supply of wind power, blackouts may result. Conversely, excess power may be wasted when it cannot be stored over the long term.

An Innovative Solution

Ocean Grazer, a Dutch setup, is proposing a new solution for this problem – an underwater storage system!

Called the Ocean Battery, this system aims to collect and store electricity in an environmentally-friendly manner using a system of pumps and turbines. 

During low demand, the electricity from the wind farms will pump water from underground reservoirs into expandable bladders on the seafloor. When power is needed, the water flows back down into the reservoirs through a turbine, generating energy. This principle is similar to how hydroelectric dams work.

What Changes Will Ocean Battery bring?

The Ocean Battery can also be used with floating solar farms, tidal energy farms, and any other off-shore electricity producers.

This innovative solution claims to have a 70~80% efficiency rate, and since it can run an unlimited number of cycles in its lifespan (around 20 years), it is fairly cost-efficient and reliable. Its versatile use as well as its high efficiency makes it a great candidate for energy storage! It is also scalable and can be used almost everywhere.

A prototype for the Ocean Battery is already being tested at a port in Netherland and in several other areas. Underwater storage of electricity poses extra challenges compared to storage on land, and we are likely to see newer and more efficient designs as technology continues to advance.

Nevertheless, the development of the Ocean Battery, and other technologies like it, may make renewable energy more accessible. 

Sources: BBC, NewAtlas, Economic Times