Improved Laughlin-Brayton Cycle Energy Storage
Stationary electrical energy storage plays several important roles in the U.S. electricity system, and these are expected to grow as the grid continues to evolve. Long-duration energy storage systems address grid needs beyond those covered by daily cycling. Such systems could provide backup power for several days, improving grid resiliency, or allow for the integration of even larger amounts of intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar. In the near term, such systems could help shape the output from individual wind and solar installations, improving the reliability of these resources and thus greatly increasing their value to the grid.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
The Brayton Energy team will develop a key component to enable a cost-competitive Laughlin-Brayton battery energy storage system that combines thermal storage and innovative turbomachinery to generate power. When the system is charging, an electrically driven heat pump will accumulate thermal energy in a high temperature thermal energy storage medium. During discharge, electricity is produced by heating a gas using the stored thermal energy and sending it through the generation turbine that drives an electric generator. Brayton Energy’s innovation lies in its reversing, counter-rotating turbine design, in which each turbomachinery stage is designed to act as both as a compressor and turbine, alternating between charging and discharging cycles. This approach greatly simplifies the Laughlin-Brayton battery system, improves its efficiency and operability, and reduces the capital cost.
If successful, DAYS projects will provide new forms of long-duration stationary electricity storage systems that enhance grid resiliency, provide low-cost energy capacity, support grid infrastructure, and enable a greater share of intermittent renewable resources in the generation mix.
Long-duration storage can help prevent blackouts and smooth overall grid operation, improving resilience and enhancing grid security.
New, extended storage options could enable greater integration of intermittent renewable energy sources, greatly reducing emissions from the power sector.
Energy storage technologies could help improve grid efficiency and promote the growth of domestic renewable energy sources.