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Energy Conversion and Storage

Grand challenge - Worldwide goals of reducing and phasing out the use of fossil fuels in the coming decades are to a large extent based on expectations of replacement of these fuels with renewable photovoltaics (PV), wind, biogas and hydropower plants. Because of the intermittent nature of many of the renewable electricity sources, this transition is faced with large challenges concerning the adaption into the existing utility grid and storage infrastructure. Solutions are likely to be based on the continuous introduction of i) new storage technologies (i.e., electricity-to-electricity, electricity-to-heat and electricity-to-chemicals) ii) increased efficiencies in electricity consumption and in the utilization of resources, iii) the intelligent utility grid where consumption is driven by the available supply (demand-response management) and iv) the existing strategies of weather forecasting, grid expansion and demand-side management.

Some of the specific targets of the research at AU-ENG are:

  • Development of flow and/or solid state batteries with capital costs below 100 € kWh-1 and a lifetime that gives levelized cost of storage below 5 ¢ kWh-1 cycle-1.
  • Direct conversion of solar radiation into chemical energy  – Development of photoelectrodes that can charge flow-batteries directly with efficiency of more than 10 %.