Industry and researchers call for Danish effort within energy storage

Thursday 24 Jan 19
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Søren Linderoth
Head of Department, Professor
DTU Energy
+45 46 77 58 01
Energy storage is going to play a key role in the green transition to a sustainable energy system. At the same time the new technologies for energy storage offer significant export opportunities for Denmark if the necessary framework is in place. This was the topic of a well-attended meeting at DTU hosted by the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences (ATV).

On January 22 leading Danish researchers and industry representatives met to discuss how the Danish effort within energy storage can be strengthened.

To limit the anthropogenic climate changes it is necessary to sharply curtail the emissions of greenhouse gases. The European Union has set a target of an 80-95% reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, and in line with this the long term energy policy of Denmark aims for independence of coal, oil and natural gas by 2050. To reach this target it is necessary to expand the share of sustainable energy sources such as wind and solar in the Danish (and European) energy system significantly. This creates a key demand for efficient storage of primarily electricity to balance production and consumption. The technologies for energy storage are being developed worldwide but Denmark has a significant position of strength, both scientifically and commercially.

The Danish energy industry has 55,000 employees and an annual export of more than 70 billion DKK. And there is potential for more. However, if Denmark wants to keep its position in a hastily changing market for energy technologies, it is necessary to strengthen Danish energy research in a close collaboration between universities and industry.

Søren Linderoth, Head of Department at DTU Energy, opened the meeting with an overview of the activities in the working group established by ATV to further the establisment of a Danish National Centre for Energy Storage. He could report a large interest in the effort from both politicians and the general public. But he also stressed that it is necessary to get started soon to avoid Denmark being left behind. His message was clear: To focus and intensify research, development and demonstration of energy storage technologies in collaboration between Danish research institutions and industry will not only help meet the goals of the official Danish energy policy, it will also strengthen employment and growth in an export oriented industry.

Senior Scientist Allan Schrøder Pedersen from DTU Energy then gave a short overview of the Danish positions of strength within energy storage. They are primarily within 1) batteries, including battery management systems and the development of new battery types, 2) storage of electricity by using electrolysis to produce hydrogen and other energy rich chemical compounds, 3) thermal energy storage which in a Danish and northern European context plays an important role for the energy system, and 4) mechanical energy storage, using, e.g., flywheels.

Four Danish industry representatives then gave their views on these four areas: Lars Barkler, CEO of Lithium Balance (batteries and battery management systems), John Bøgild Hansen, senior scientist at Haldor Topsøe (chemical storage of electricity), Anders Dyrelund, energy specialist at Rambøll (thermal energy storage), and Martin Speiermann, CEO of WattsUp Power (mechanical energy storage).

The day ended with spirited discussions among the participants about each of the four positions of strength, leading to a series of concrete suggestions which the working group will use in their further effort to realise the centre.

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17 NOVEMBER 2019