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Review and Techno-Economic Analysis of Emerging Thermo-Mechanical Energy Storage Technologies

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Thermo-mechanical energy storage can be a cost-effective solution to provide flexibility and balance highly renewable energy systems. Here, we present a concise review of emerging thermo-mechanical energy storage solutions focusing on their commercial development. Under a unified framework, we review technologies that have proven to work conceptually through project demonstration at a scale above 1 MW by describing the current state of commercial development, quantifying techno-economic parameters, outlining the challenges, and assessing each technology’s potential for commercial viability. The levelized cost of storage for thermo-mechanical energy storage at storage duration between 8 h and 1 week is cheaper than that of lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen storage; however, energy storage for such duration does not pay for itself at the current renewable penetration levels. For medium-term energy storage to be viable, at the realistic storage cost of 15 USD/kWh to 40 USD/kWh, the investment cost for power components should decrease to one-fifth of the current costs. Thermo-mechanical energy storage can be economically viable at the current investment costs in off-grid systems only when the marginal cost of alternative fuel exceeds 100 USD/MWh. We identified the cost ratio (charge power cost/discharge power cost) and the discharge efficiency as the critical technology-related performance parameters. Other external factors such as wind and solar fractions, demand, interconnections, sector coupling, and market structure play an important role in determining the economic feasibility of thermo-mechanical energy storage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6328
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • energy storage, market analysis, techno-economic optimization, thermo-mechanical

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