Research team gets $ 5.25 million for grid-scale energy storage plan

The United States Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and three of its partner institutions will receive a total of $5.25 million in funding to develop a superconducting magnet energy storage system for renewable energy development.

An affordable large-scale energy storage system is an important component in enabling the widespread use of wind and solar power in the electrical grid. A superconducting magnet energy storage system uses magnetic fields in superconducting coils to store energy with near-zero energy loss.

Brookhaven Laboratory will collaborate with ABB Inc. of Cary, North Carolina; SuperPower Inc. of Schenectady, New York; and the University of Houston in Texas to develop the large-scale energy storage technology.

The project is one of the 43 research projects to receive $92 million in stimulus funding from the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program. The collaboration will receive $4.2 million in federal funding and $1.05 million in matching funds.

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«This exciting project is aimed at providing novel technologies for grid-scale energy storage solutions,” said Jim Misewich, Brookhaven’s associate laboratory director for basic energy sciences. “Such technologies are a key element in ensuring reliable operation of the 21st century electric grid and for the integration of renewable sources to reduce our carbon footprint.»

“To achieve our goals, the performance of each of the individual subsystems that make up the proposed SMES system will have to be propelled far beyond the present state-of-the-art,” added Qiang Li, head of the Advanced Energy Materials Group in the condensed matter physics and materials science department.

Brookhaven scientists will lead the design and development of the superconducting magnet and will team up with SuperPower to create second generation, high-temperature superconducting wires for the system. These wires will allow the system to offer megawatt-hours of stored energy, enough to support a growing renewable energy generation infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the University of Houston will develop innovative approaches to significantly increase the performance of the wires while dramatically reducing their cost.



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