For decades, the North Sea has been delivering much of the oil and gas to the world’s global supply of fossil fuels.
As technologies advanced and climate change concerns increased, the North Sea also became a leader in offshore wind capacity installation and innovation.
For the countries on the North Sea, and for all renewable projects around the world for that matter, the key challenge in boosting the share of renewables in the power mix is a way to find a reliable cost-efficient way to store the energy produced so it can be released when needed.
A new study by a team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh suggests that porous rocks on the North Sea bed could act as energy storage facilities.
Julien Mouli-Castillo of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences and his team suggest in an article in Nature Energy that the so-called compressed-air energy storage (CAES) technology could be applied in those porous rocks to store energy for a few months, for example to have it readily available during peak electricity winter demand in the UK.
CAES could use electricity from renewables to power a motor that generates compressed air. This compressed air would then be stored at high pressure in the porous rock, through a deep well drilled into the rock. When electricity demand is high, the compressed air would be released from the well and power a turbine to generate electricity to send to the power grid.
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