Energy Efficiency Story - Three Examples
- Oct 4, 2021 4:36 pm GMT
Energy Efficiency Story
The term energy efficiency typically brings to mind ideas like increasing insulation in a home or business, reducing thermostat settings in the winter or raising settings in the summer. It also evokes actions like replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Most people equate these simple, direct acts with increasing their energy efficiency.
But there is more that can be done if individuals and businesses act proactively. If they have a home or business equipped with solar, they can add storage to indirectly impact gas-fired peaker plant production by moving daytime solar to evening high demand hours. This process is called energy arbitrage, whereby daytime solar-charged energy storage is discharged to serve evening & nighttime loads after the sun sets. The avoidance and outright reduction of fossil fuel consumption is another means of energy efficiency, or should I say, preservation of energy. 1 kWh requires 0.5kg of natural gas burn.
Shown here are a few examples with both direct and indirect impact on fossil fuel consumption.
California Telecom off-grid site. Annual Fuel Savings 82%
Alaska Commercial Heli-skiing off-grid site. Generator run-time reduced 70%
Hawaii residential & Michigan commercial grid-tied energy arbitrage. TOU demand offset annually 21%
The vast majority of residential and commercial energy storage using chemical batteries is installed as UPS backup to protect against utility outages. Ninety percent of these systems are not called upon to cycle in a way that moves solar energy production to match load demand. Generator run-time cannot be reduced due to the limitations on the charge rate of chemical batteries. Cycling batteries daily would render the energy storage useless, or nearly so, in under five years. Rapid recharge would, at least, damage chemical batteries and diminish their life cycles significantly, if not, at worst, incite thermal runaway. The impact on chemical battery life makes such uses uneconomical under most conditions.
Supercapacitor energy storage has four distinct advantages that make it superior to chemical alternatives for indirectly improving energy efficiency by reducing fossil fuel consumption and increasing efficiency when it does run. Those advantages are:
- vastly longer cycle life,
- rapid recharge capability,
- higher round-trip efficiency (99%) and
- minimal degradation over time and use.
The installations shown here have one thing in common. They all use Supercapacitor energy storage for daily cycling support, fuel use reduction and energy arbitrage. In all cases, they employ solar as an alternative source to charge energy storage and effectively reduce generator runtime and peak demand loads through daily energy storage cycling.
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