European Energy ready to store power in water basins

Date: 6 February 2017

Danish company sees tremendous opportunities to cut down on fossil fuels

20 meter deep water basins using green power from wind turbines or solar cells can turn future energy systems upside down .

The Danish company European Energy has applied for a patent on a method, Giga Storage, which is to solve one of the major problems in the green transition away from coal, oil and gas: How to store climate-friendly electricity from renewable sources?

The company has since 2004 developed and built wind and solar power plants in 12 European countries for nearly 7.5 billion DKK, says CEO Knud-Erik Andersen. “The perspective of this is that we can quickly cut down on the fossil fuels that we still make great use of. The same applies to the large import of biomass such as wood chips”, says Knud-Erik Andersen.

The solution is to send power from wind turbines and solar cells through heat pumps or electric boilers. Then the electricity can heat the water in the deep basins, where the price of electricity is low and several months later, the water can be used for district heating.

Heat loss of no more than 20 percent
The heat loss over the season is low, a maximum of 20 percent. And since two-thirds of the population are connected to the district heating network, the majority of Danish consumers eventually get cheap and completely CO2-free district heating. “There is no upper limit on how large facilities can be built. We get a regulatory option that we have missed in Denmark”, says Knud-Erik Andersen.

European Energy and Danish Technical University have applied for grants for a demonstration plant in Esbjerg from “Horizon 2020”, the EU program for research and innovation.

In Esbjerg, they hope they can house Giga Storage, according to Jesper Frost Rasmussen, first deputy mayor and director of the supply company Din Forsyning, which supplies water and heat and handles sewage and waste for 100,000 citizens of the municipalities Esbjerg and Varde.

Giga Storage can reverse the trend, he thinks. “This seems to be a “game changer” in energy policy, so you can really get the systems linked. It is very interesting for us in Esbjerg and will certainly be so for the rest of the country and the rest of the world if the system gets commercialized, he says.

Today Esbjerg has so much heat from its incineration plants that it is sometimes sent directly into the sea. Giga Storage will also be able to change that. “Then we can displace some coal and replace it with 100 percent green energy. That means cheaper heating bill”, says Jesper Frost Rasmussen.