Underwater Battery Provides Eco-Friendly Utility Scale Storage

A Dutch company has designed an innovative way to store excess renewable energy underwater. Their concept promises flexibility, efficiency, affordability, and the potential for large-scale utilization.

Underwater Battery Provides Eco-Friendly Utility Scale Storage

Ocean Grazer

Ocean Grazer, a Dutch startup founded in 2014, focuses on harnessing commercial clean energy from the ocean.

The company works in conjunction with students from the local University of Groningen and addresses building experimental marine prototypes and developing prediction models.

The organization began producing commercial products in 2019. It receives funding from the "European Union, the European Regional Development Fund, the SNN (Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland, Northern Netherlands Alliance), the Province of Groningen, and several other parties and partners."

The commercial products and services that Ocean Grazer provides could significantly help advance the world of renewable energy. These include ocean power via wave generation, ocean energy consultation, and their unique concept of marine battery storage.

The Beauty of Innovation

That brings us to Ocean Grazer's renowned design, the Ocean Battery. The project has been underway for the past five years, receiving special attention from the company's CRO, Marijn van Rooij.

The Ocean Battery concept includes a module layout that incorporates a hydro-pump system to store renewable energy at the bottom of the ocean. The battery must be positioned directly below hydro and offshore wind generators for maximum storage.

The design includes a fresh-water low-pressure concrete reservoir buried in the seabed, connected to water pumps and a flexible bladder. Together, these devices will utilize excess generated energy to pump water from the reservoir into the bladder, where it will be stored under high pressure.

"When there is demand for power, water flows back from the flexible bladders to the low-pressure rigid reservoirs," thus, "driving multiple hydro turbines to generate electricity."

According to New Atlas, this design was modeled after a hydro dam and is expected to run with 70-80% efficiency. It "should be able to run an unlimited number of cycles over an operation lifetime of more than 20 years."

The site also reports that each concrete reservoir should store up to 10 MWh of energy, allowing flexibility in design and storage capacity.

Though the Ocean Battery concept is impressive and holds great potential, Ocean Grazer isn't the first to approach energy storage in this way. But when it comes to sustainable development, it isn't about who does it first. A conglomeration of design and innovation drives ideas forward to a clean energy future.

Environmental Impact

Ocean Grazer's website states their "technology is sustainable and eco-friendly, the Ocean Battery does not require rare earth materials and uses clean water as the energy carrier. In addition, the structure is designed to enhance marine life."

Underwater installation could cause some disturbance to surrounding marine life. But energy storage and redistribution will occur within pipes, the batter, and the enclosed reservoir. So the operation stage of the Ocean Battery should result in minimal marine life disturbance.

Once the design is developed further and has undergone extensive testing and real-life operations, the company will have a better estimate of the concept's environmental footprint.

Since Ocean Grazer actively designed the idea to lessen environmental impact, they will most likely build it to include mitigative properties that reduce local ecological harm.

In addition, its design should result in a net positive, even with some local disturbance. Because of the significant environmental footprint of fossil fuels, the design should have a more substantial impact than renewable energy and most storage options.

The development stage of the Ocean Battery is currently unknown, but the world of technological advancement will illuminate continued improvement throughout time, even after initial installation. In the future, growth and improvement in technology can help mitigate any storage unit challenges.

While we wait to hear news from Ocean Grazer, the Ocean Battery serves as yet another excellent example of the creations and advancements we are making toward an environmentally healthy tomorrow.

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