Smart Storage
Smart Storage 4 min reading time

What all can you store smartly?

By 2050, the Dutch energy supply must be sustainable and CO2 neutral. To this end, we are setting up a new and sustainable energy system. Smart storage of this sustainable energy plays an important role in this. But which types of energy can be stored intelligently? And how does that work? You can read more about it in this article.

Daárom you want to store energy smartly

Our current energy grid is demand-driven: if you turn up the heat or push the light switch in the kitchen, the grid goes to work for you. You ask and the grid delivers. With more and more renewable energy sources such as solar energy, the energy landscape takes on a new dimension: the element of "supply. In fact, there are times when we have to deal with sun and wind when we don't need it.

Sometimes there is a lot of sun or wind and you produce more electricity than you need. We then have an energy surplus. But there are also times when the production of sustainable energy is insufficient for the demand, for example in winter when the wind is calm and the sun shines little. Therefore, options are needed to store renewable energy so that it can be used at another time. By storing energy, you deal flexibly with the supply and demand of clean energy. In addition, storage contributes locally to solving grid congestion, balances your energy economy and makes your green energy system ready for tomorrow.

Source: CBS, 2023

You can store this smartly

Storing energy is not a new business. Right now, we mainly store natural gas in the Netherlands. But as our energy supply changes to using renewable sources, we also need to store renewable energy on a large scale.

Of course, we are all familiar with the method of storage where you store electricity in a battery so that enough power can be supplied at peak times. But there are several types of energy that we can store for later use. For example, we can store energy to convert it into hydrogen later and we can store heat to use it later.

A battery as a pairing opportunity

By storing energy in a battery, we can supply enough power at peak times. Even when more power is generated than the grid can handle, we deploy the battery; we then feed the power back into the grid at a later time. Using a battery makes for a more stable power grid. Thus, a battery reduces the loss of generated electricity and compensates for the predicted and actual electricity generation, by smart feeding of energy.

Installing a battery is not complicated. The battery requires relatively little space and is easy to fit into the environment. Also, a battery is easily adaptable to your needs.

Battery deployment is often a great coupling opportunity in sustainable projects. An example of this is solar park Bontepolder, where we placed a 5 MW battery. The link between the power grid, the battery and the solar farm creates a more stable electricity grid.

"By deploying the battery, we are strengthening the power system in several ways. The battery helps with minimizing losses in reprocessed electricity, corrects discrepancies between predicted and actual electricity production nationally, and at the local level helps alleviate grid congestion," says Gerke Schaap | Project Manager Storage, Novar

Seasonal storage for heat

Thermal storage is already common abroad, but it is still relatively rare in the Netherlands. We are now changing that. We are currently building the largest solar thermal park in the Netherlands. Solar thermal energy is an innovative way to generate sustainable heat. At the solar thermal park in Dorkwerd, we are using a unique technique for this. Heat is generated with 24,000 solar collectors. A special vacuum technique in the collectors makes it possible to efficiently produce high temperatures. Ultimately, 2,500 homes and businesses in Groningen will be heated with that heat.

In summer, the sun shines more, so more heat is generated. But you also need heat in the winter. That is why we use seasonal storage at solar thermal park Dorkwerd. In this way heat can be stored for those times when no heat can be generated.

At solar thermal park Dorkwerd there is a buffer tank 20 meters high, in which 6,000 cubic meters of water supply can be stored. At night, this heat is transferred from the solar thermal park to the WarmteCentrale of the sustainable heat company WarmteStad. Thus, we can use solar heat all year round, even in winter.

Storing green hydrogen

Hydrogen is stored in a hydrogen battery. The advantage of a hydrogen battery is that, like an energy storage system, it is modularly scalable and can fit well into the environment. The stored hydrogen can then later be used as fuel for heavy transportation and industrial processes. But when do you need a hydrogen battery?

You can use a hydrogen battery in places where hydrogen is produced. Like at a solar farm. You need electricity to produce hydrogen. If you use sustainably generated electricity for hydrogen production, such as solar power, then you produce green hydrogen without emissions. And that, of course, is what we want.

A good example of this is project H₂ Hollandia. At solar park Vloeivelden Hollandia we have the ambition to use part of this solar power to produce green hydrogen. To produce hydrogen there, an electrolyser will be installed at the solar park. You produce hydrogen by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. This is called electrolysis.

"At Vloeivelden Hollandia, the solar park and the electrolyser use the same grid connection: an advantage of the combination of hydrogen and solar. In this way, a storage option for renewable energy can be created cost-effectively. This way, the grid is used in an efficient way." Jan Martijn Buruma | Director of Storage, Grid & Infra.
Jan Martijn Buruma

Using the energy grid smartly and efficiently

To ensure that the Dutch energy supply is sustainable and CO2 neutral by 2050, we need to take steps towards a new energy system now. A system in which we take maximum advantage of green generated energy. With smart storage and smart use of different types of energy such as electricity and heat, we ensure that we always have enough green energy at hand.

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