Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES) was originally proposed for large-scale, load leveling, but, because of its rapid-discharge capabilities, it has been implemented on electric power systems for pulsed-power and system-stability applications.
Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage is a novel technology that stores electricity from the grid within the magnetic field of a coil comprised of a superconducting wire with a near-zero loss of energy.
The main parts installed in SMES are motionless making the device highly reliable. In addition, the unpredictability some say is associated with power generation through various renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are expected to open new opportunities for growth in this market.
A few key players in Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage System market segment include American Magnetics, SuperPower Inc., Southwire Company, Nexans SA, GE Corporation, Bruker Energy & Supercon Technologies, Babcock Noell GmbH, Columbus Superconductors SpA, ASG Superconductos SpA, and ABB.
Furthermore, SuperPower Inc. says this about the technology:
SMES is a grid-enabling device that stores and discharges large quantities of power almost instantaneously. The system is capable of releasing high levels of power within a fraction of a cycle to replace a sudden loss or dip in line power. Strategic injection of brief bursts of power can play a crucial role in maintaining grid reliability especially with today’s increasingly congested power lines and the high penetration of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar.
A typical SMES consists of two parts – cryogenically cooled superconducting coil and power conditioning system – which are motionless and result in higher reliability than many other power storage devices. Ideally, once the superconducting coil is charged, the current will not decay and the magnetic energy can be stored indefinitely.
Benefits of SMES
- Improves power quality for critical loads and provides carry over energy during momentary voltage sags and power outages
- Improves load leveling between renewable energy sources (wind, solar) and the transmission and distribution network
- Environmentally beneficial as compared to batteries; superconductivity does not rely on a chemical reaction and no toxins are produced in the process
- Enhances transmission line capacity and performance – SMES features a high dynamic range, an almost infinite cycling capability, and an energy recovery rate close to 100%
- Ultra-high field operation enables long-term storage SMES systems in a compact device with cost advantages in material and system costs
- Modular units can address both long term (hours) and short term (seconds) storage requirements to help load leveling on the grid being fed by variable renewable sources such as solar and wind. Exceeding roundtrip efficiency requirements at 85%, SMES can have both energy storage and dynamic compensation capabilities thanks to the nearly instantaneous dynamic response of the superconducting coil.
Filed Under: Energy storage