Breakthrough in Energy Storage: Isentropic Energy

By Eric Wesoff in Greentech Media, February 23 2010

Today, the only economical method of storing energy at a large scale is pumped hydro (pumped hydro accounts for almost all large-scale electricity storage) or Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES). Unfortunately, both of those technologies require easy access to an immense airtight underground cavern or a couple of large reservoirs.

I've quoted Haresh Kamath of EPRI's Technology Innovation Group as saying, "Storage is a great idea -- except for the cost." According to this EPRI spokesman, the technologies that are most likely to reach commercialization in the near term are Lithium-ion batteries and Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES). Kamath expects the cost of large-format Lithium-ion (for electric vehicles and utility-scale storage) to drop to $250 per kilowatt-hour.

Jonathan Howes, the Chief Technical Officer of U.K. start-up Isentropic Energy, is out to prove otherwise. Howes is claiming large-scale storage costs that are an order of magnitude lower than Lithium-ion batteries or other stored energy technologies -- $55 per kilowatt-hour currently, with a path to get down to $8 per kilowatt-hour.

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