Optimization Of Energy Storage In A Renewable Plant: The Missing Link In Feasibility

Open Access
Kleist, Eric Paul
Area of Honors:
Mechanical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Anil Kamalakant Kulkarni, Thesis Supervisor
  • Zoubeida Ounaies, Honors Advisor
  • Energy
  • Energy Storage
  • Storage
  • Batteries
  • Optimization
  • Renewable
  • Solar
  • Wind
Energy is considered the top global problem for the 21st century, and simultaneously many countries are striving for higher economic status, which requires more energy. That is why renewable development is necessary, and many remote areas do not have access to standard transmission lines. A program was developed that assesses energy needs and system cost for these types of locations, receiving power from wind, solar, and biomass. However, energy storage is the missing link in increasing the feasibility of a renewable hybrid plant. By storing energy for later use, the intermittency problem of solar and wind can be alleviated. Thus, the objective of this thesis sought to integrate a form of energy storage (valve-sealed lead acid batteries) into the existing program. The methods used included estimating excess energy generation by the wind turbine and solar panels, and iterations based on the battery bank energy capacity were performed. This energy was stored in the batteries on an hourly basis and met loads that the renewable sources could not by storing excess generation for later use. Essentially, the batteries store loads to displace loads at a later time. The user is able to adjust the battery model properties, and see results including battery system costs, efficiency, and total energy stored. An optimization algorithm, using user inputted weighted functions, chooses the best battery system for both the wind turbine and solar panels, respectively. A costing function including battery cost, installation fees, operation and maintenance, incentives, and inverters was implemented. It was found that using batteries as energy storage can cover 10-15% of the required load on average, up to 25% in some cases. As a result, this program provides an accessible and understandable way for someone to evaluate their needs for a renewable system based on their location, from its generation to storage to price.