A comparative review of electrical energy storage systems for better sustainability

Pavlos Nikolaidis, Andreas Poullikkas


The accelerated growth of the energy economy is still highly dependent on finite fossil fuel reserves. Modern power systems
could not exist without the many forms of electricity storage that can be integrated at different levels of the power chain. This
work contains a review of the most important applications in which storage provides electricity-market opportunities along with
other benefits such as arbitrage, balancing and reserve power sources, voltage and frequency control, investment deferral,
cost management and load shaping and levelling. Using a 5 function normalization technique a comparative assessment
of 19 electrical energy storage (EES) technologies, based on their technical and operational characteristics, is carried out
and the technology-application pairs identified across the power chain are presented. In terms of safety and simplicity, Pbacid
and Li-ion systems are viable options for small-scale residential applications, while advanced Pb-acid and molten-salt
batteries are suited to medium-to-large scale applications including commercial and industrial consumers. In addition to
their expected use in the transportation sector in the coming years, regenerative fuel cells and flow batteries have intriguing
potential to offer in stationary applications once they are mature for commercialization. For large-scale/energy-management
applications, pumped hydro is the most reliable energy storage option (over compressed-air alternatives) whereas flywheels,
supercapacitors and superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) are still focused on power-based applications. As
different parts in the power system involve different stakeholders and services, each technology with its own benefits and
weaknesses requires research and development in order to emerge over others and contribute to more effective energy
production in the future.


electricity storage; power sources; electricity markets

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