Researchers May Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Investing in Energy Storage

Sunday, August 4, 2019 - 11:43

Researchers of University of Michigan have found out that investing in batteries and other energy storage technologies can be economically viable with proper policy support.

According to the University of Michigan study, published in July 30 in Nature Communications, at times renewable energy sources can produce more power than what is needed; wasting solar or wind energy can be a lost opportunity for these clean energy resources to displace pollution from fossil fuel-powered plants.

That, in turn, could radically reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases—by up to 90% in one scenario examined by the researchers—and increase the use of solar and wind energy at a time when climate change takes on greater urgency.

“The cost of energy storage is very important,” said study co-author Maryam Arbabzadeh, a postdoctoral fellow at U-M’s School for Environment and Sustainability. “But there are some incentives we could use to make it attractive economically, one being an emissions tax.”

Arbabzadeh led the research in collaboration with colleagues at Ohio State University and North Carolina State University. Gregory Keoleian, director of U-M’s Center for Sustainable Systems, served as her adviser and one of the co-authors of the study.

Arbabzadeh and her fellow researchers created complex models analyzing nine different energy storage technologies. They looked at the environmental effects of renewable curtailment, which is the amount of renewable energy generated but unable to be delivered to meet demand for a variety of reasons.

The study is titled “The Role of Energy Storage in Deep Decarbonization of Electricity Production.” The work was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Dow Sustainability Fellows Program and the Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship Program.

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