Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Energy and Environment,

Large-scale energy storage

Bringing renewable energy technologies and electric vehicles online

researchers are developing materials and batteries

PNNL researchers are developing materials and batteries for stationary energy storage applications, as well battery testing. Sustainable energy, stationary energy storage will be vital to adding renewables, such as wind and solar, to the power grid, and perhaps even to make the smart grid a reality.

Renewable energy sources have the potential to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But wind and solar are variable sources of energy that fluctuate depending on weather conditions. Because the power they produce is intermittent, it is difficult for utilities to predict when the power will be available and increases the complexity of operating an energy system that must constantly match supply and demand.

Large-scale energy storage is key to integrating renewable resources like wind and solar into the power grid. Large-scale energy storage will allow us to use renewable energy when and where power is needed, taking full advantage of high penetrations of renewable energy sources.

Similarly, advanced energy storage materials are needed to improve the performance and reduce the cost of deploying electric vehicles. Safe, high-capacity batteries that can be quickly and repeatedly charged and discharged are needed to allow widespread deployment of electric and hybrid vehicles. Taking current batteries to the next level requires revolutionary breakthroughs in materials science.

At Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists are conducting research in two key areas: analysis of the electric grid's ability to store renewable energy; and materials for batteries needed to store renewable energy and power electric and other fuel-efficient vehicles.

Analysis of the current and future electric grid [+ expand/ - collapse]

Materials for energy storage and transportation [+ expand/ - collapse]

PNNL is hosting the 4th Symposium on Energy Storage: Beyond Lithium Ion conference, June 7-9, 2011. The conference is a unique forum focused on the future of energy storage technologies for transportation applications and the tremendous potential for materials science and engineering to provide necessary advances.

For more information on PNNL's research in materials science and analysis of the electric grid, see the links below.

Materials research

Visit the SciVee TV website and learn how PNNL scientists made better materials for batteries with metal oxide and graphene, components that assemble on their own into durable nanocomposites. The video is based on a PNNL paper published in ACS Nano that became one of the top cited articles of 2010. February 2011

Vanadium Investing News reported that advancements in vanadium redox batteries discovered by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers could make the batteries more economically feasible. April 2011

The Transformational Materials Science Initiative at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is using the principles of functional nanostructures, nanoscale-to-macroscale phenomena, multi-scale computational models and unique characterization tools to understand essential phenomena in energy storage materials. April 2011

New research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory indicates that modifying the vanadium redox battery's electrolyte solution significantly improves its performance. So much so that the upgraded battery could improve the electric grid's reliability and help connect more wind turbines and solar panels to the grid. March 2011

Last year, researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and their collaborators at Princeton University published a paper in ACS Nano that has become one of the top cited articles of 2010. March 2011

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and battery and electrochemical company EaglePicher Technologies plan to use an ARPA-E grant to develop a next-generation sodium battery for the U.S. power grid. March 2010

New battery materials developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Vorbeck Materials Corp. of Jessup, Md., could enable electric vehicles, power tools and even cell phones to recharge in minutes rather than hours. July 2010

A new technology that involves electrosynthesis methods for controlling the morphology of nanostructures is being developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The methods produce arrays of oriented nanofibers and nanofilms that may be useful in applications including sensors, electronic displays, fuel cells, and advanced batteries.

This article discusses the Advanced Materials and Devices for Stationary Electrical Energy Storage Workshop, a first-of-its-kind project that brought together a group of materials scientists to explore technologies from a materials perspective. November 2010

A new silicon-based anode technology doubles the capacity of conventional graphite anode technology used in Li-ion batteries, and may lead to Li-ion batteries with much higher energy density and capacity. October 2010

A redesign of sodium-nickel chloride batteries promises to overcome some of the obstacles long associated with rechargeable batteries. October 2010

Researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Transformational Materials Science Initiative are using integrated synthesis, characterization, and modeling capabilities to develop the breakthrough materials necessary to transform energy storage.

A team of researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and EaglePicher Technologies, LLC, is developing a next generation large-scale battery that could enable the widespread use of renewable energy sources by providing grid-scale energy storage.

Integrating renewable resources into the power grid

PNNL delivered two presentations at the International Battery Association meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa—one presentation focusing on large-scale energy storage opportunities and another presentation on the Planar ZEBRA Battery for Renewable Integration and Grid Applications was delivered at the International Battery Association meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa in April 2011.

This study assesses the impacts of the variability in wind generation on regional grid operation in the Pacific Northwest and the role that energy storage may play to mitigate these grid impacts. Link to view NWPP study. April 2010

In Nov. 2010, an interdisciplinary team of experts led by Dr. Z. Gary Yang of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory released their analysis of the technological and economic issues involved in storing energy from wind and other renewable energy sources. November 2010

Papers and reports

"Electrochemical Energy Storage for Green Grid". 2011. Yang, Z, J Zhang, MCW Kintner-Meyer, X Lu, D Choi, JP Lemmon, and J Liu. Chemical Reviews. DOI: 10.1021/cr100290v.

Energy Storage for Power Systems Applications: A Regional Assessment for the Northwest Power Pool (NWPP). 2010. Kinter-Meyer, MCW, P Balducci, C Jin, T Nguyen, M Elizondo, V Viswanathan, X Guo, F Tuffner. PNNL-19300. Richland, Washington.

Energy Storage for Variable Renewable Energy Resource Integration-A Regional Assessment for the Northwest Power Pool (NWPP). 2010. Kintner-Meyer, M, C Jin, P Balducci, M Elizondo, X Guo, T Nguyen, F Tuffner, V Viswanathan. PNNL-SA-76628, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA.

Exfoliated MoS2 Nanocomposite as an Anode Material for Lithium Ion Batteries for Lithium Ion Batteries. 2010. Xiao, J, D Choi, L Cosimbescu, P Koech, J Liu and JP Lemmon. Chemistry of Materials, 22:16, pp. 4522-4524.

Impacts Assessment of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles on Electric Utilities and Regional U.S. Power Grids. Part I: Technical Analysis. 2006. Kinter-Meyer, M, K Schneider, R Pratt. PNNL-SA-52337, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA.

Impacts Assessment of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles on Electric Utilities and Regional U.S. Power Grids. Part II: Economic Analysis. 2007. Kintner-Meyer MCW, MJ Scott, WM Warwick, DB Elliott, and RG Pratt. PNNL-SA-52338, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA.

Impact Assessment of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles on the U.S. Power Grid. 2010. Kintner-Meyer MCW, TB Nguyen, C Jin, P Balducci, and TJ Secrest. Presented by Michael Kintner-Meyer at EVS 25: The 25th World Battery, Hybrid and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition, Shenzhen, China on November 5, 2010. PNNL-SA-75934, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA.

Sizing Energy Storage to Accommodate High Penetration of Variable Energy Resources. 2010. Makarov YV, MCW Kintner-Meyer, P Du, C Jin, and H Illian. PNNL-SA-75846, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA.

"Using Electric Vehicles to Mitigate Imbalance Requirements Associated with an Increased Penetration of Wind Generation." 2011. Tuffner FK, and MCW Kintner-Meyer. 2010. In IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting 2011. PNNL-SA-76661, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA.

Our Business

About Energy and Environment

Electricity Infrastructure

Capabilities

Contacts

Featured Research

EED News