POWER Magazine Quotes Morten Lund, Kelly Echols and Eric Martin on Future for Energy Storage Technology

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Energy development attorney Morten Lund, chemical patent attorney Kelly Echols and natural resource attorney Eric Martin were quoted in POWER magazine in an article titled “‘Best Is Yet to Come’ for Energy Storage Technology,” published March 1, 2021. The article discusses the state of development of energy storage – technology considered by energy industry participants to be critical in electrifying transportation and other businesses and continuing the growth in the adoption of renewable energy.

The number of battery energy storage systems in service in the U.S. has grown from seven in 2010, accounting for 59 MW of power capacity, to 125 by the end of 2018, accounting for 869 MW of power capacity, with a further 1.2 GW of storage expected to come online in the next one or two years. The decrease in the cost of utility scale battery storage by almost 70% between 2015 and 2018 has supported the strong growth, which analysts predict will continue throughout this decade.

Though there a variety of methods for storing power, lithium-ion batteries are the current favorite. “We’ve been through a few technology cycles,” Lund said. “Lithium-ion is the dominant technology and is likely to stay that for the foreseeable future. It’s relatively cheap, and it works, [and] the stuff that works better right now is more expensive. In this country, these decisions are made by the market, and the market looks for the good-enough, low-cost thing of the moment.”

Observers note that hydrogen — where excess electricity generation is converted by hydrolysis into hydrogen, which can be re-electrified in fuel cells or used in power plants — is the largest viable competitor to lithium-ion batteries for use with stationary applications and to charge vehicles. “There does seem to be a demand, essentially in a fuel cell,” Echols said. “You can store it longer, and with fuel cells, the storage capability, the ways you can hold onto that hydrogen, it could be longer.”

Martin notes another advantage of using hydrogen as a storage medium. “From a hydrogen perspective, the utilities that are facing this prospect are where the public is concerned about GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions, and climate change,” he said. “It’s a way to adapt their existing infrastructure in a less-climate-intensive way.”

Key Contributors

Morten A. Lund
Eric L. Martin
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