Could hydrocarbons be used to store renewable energy?

in Project HOPE2 months ago

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The use of renewable energies is on the rise and with it the possibility of being able to find sources of storage for this type of energy.

The high demand that renewable energy has experienced is largely due to new ways that have been found to store them, however, we may wonder:

Does renewable energy storage have anything to do with hydrocarbons?

Certainly renewable energy derived from two very important types such as wind and solar has been increasing, while the demand in the use of energy derived from fossil fuels has declined, however despite all these changes involving a boom in renewable energy and a collapse of hydrocarbons, there are still several problems to be solved.

Among the current energy problems is that of being able to optimally store electrical energy so that it can be used in the best way. This type of problem makes us think of the need to generate alternative solutions to make considerable progress in energy storage, especially considering that in the generation processes there is almost always an excess of energy generated from wind and solar farms.

The scenario presented makes us reflect that the problem would not be a lack of electric energy generation from these types of renewable energies but rather that the generation of electric energy from these renewable energies would exceed the existing demand, so it would be convenient to think of a way to store the remaining energy.

Various problems have been encountered in the storage of electricity, including

  • Battery storage is complex, expensive and difficult in general areas.

  • The other problem is that electricity cannot be stored on a large scale for a long time.

The other problem is that electricity cannot be stored on a large scale for a long time. If we analyze the use of batteries, it is complex because if we are really looking at renewable energies as a sustainable and non-polluting alternative, battery storage would be in lithium batteries, which could cause environmental pollution damage.

It is under this scenario that the idea of using hydrocarbons as a source of storage is born, let's see what it consists of.

Let's understand the process

First of all I must explain that a hydrocarbon is a chemical compound of organic origin composed of carbon and hydrogen, in a liquid state we can find these hydrocarbons with the name of oil and in a gaseous state as natural gas.

It is important that we understand what hydrocarbons are, since when hydrocarbons are burned a by-product can be obtained such as water and with this generate electricity. Hydrocarbons are formed because elements such as hydrogen and carbon are subjected to high pressure in the absence of oxygen, which is why the formation of oil is purely geological because achieving these conditions in a laboratory is almost impossible.

How are hydrocarbons used to store electricity?

It is a rather complex system to explain, but in short it works as follows:

For example, wind power is used to operate an electrolysis unit that converts water into hydrogen and then stores it by injection in a system that is like a gas plant.

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At the moment, natural gas is used as a hydrocarbon to store considerable volumes of renewable energy. It is a good technological condition given that, although natural gas is a hydrocarbon, it has low levels of pollution because it reduces CO2 emissions.

Conclusion and contribution

Let us hope that the boom in renewable energies can be accompanied by a high development in their storage, especially taking into account the surplus electrical energy that can be derived from wind and solar.

Tell me what you think about this storage initiative?

Thank you for reading and supporting my articles, goodbye and until a next opportunity your friend @carlos84.

Source consulted and recommended

Renewable energy could be stored through hydrocarbons. World Energy Trade

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Hello @carlos 84
This is something I really hadn't thought about before. But yes, a big problem to solve is to be able to save the electrical energy, we always think about batteries, but in the end they turn out to be very polluting. This thing you mentioned about gas, I hadn't seen it that way, but it could be one of many solutions for storage.

Batteries are polluting yes, but they are very much net carbon negative, especially lead acid as most of the lead is recycled into new batteries.

The process of recycling lithium is a bit harder and not used as much.

I like this idea, but with gas prices still too low it doesn't make economic sense. Maybe with a proper carbon market this would change. If you are using a hydrogen process in existing pipelines you would be burning carbon neutral energy and this would entice people to develop large offshore wind developments to feed into these existing pipelines.

Greetings my friend @carlos84. I think there is more future in the use of batteries for energy storage. While it is true that lithium-ion technology has its disadvantages, I think the way forward would be to develop other technologies still in the initial stage, using other types of electrodes, to avoid the environmental problems related to lithium.