Dutch startup Ocean Grazer has developed a conceptual offshore energy-storage system that can be deployed at the source of power generation, managing the flow of electricity and balancing supply and demand.
According to a study, offshore power generation will exceed 1200 GW by 2050 – 25 per cent more than today’s power generation capacity. Renewable energy is dependent on weather conditions, and instability from storage can cause fluctuations, while excess supply can overload the power grid, resulting in blackouts.
The energy storage concept, Ocean Battery, is designed for installation on the seabed near offshore renewable energy generators like solar farms, wind turbines, and tidal wave power stations. It comprises three components that function similarly to a hydro dam, a reservoir, pump, and bladder.
Founders Frits Bliek, Max Duursma, and Marijin Van Rooij say it took five years of research to develop the Ocean Battery concept.
The system works by pumping water from a concrete reservoir that can hold up to 20 million litres of freshwater from excess energy from renewable sources. Afterwards, the energy is stored as potential energy in the form of water under high pressure. When there is demand for energy, the bladder releases and squeezes water back down to the reservoir, spinning turbines to generate electricity funnelled into the power grid.
The startup says the system has an efficiency of 70 to 80 per cent and could run an unlimited number of cycles over its potential lifespan of 20 years. The storage system is scalable: each concrete reservoir has a capacity of 10 MWh and more can be added to boost the overall capacity. Extra units of pump and turbine can also boost power output.
Ocean Grazer is currently looking for potential clients and investors to help take its concept into fruition.