Two professors from the College of Engineering of the University of the Philippines gave a public lecture on energy storage last October 9, 2015. This was to give an appreciation and better understanding to interested individuals as well as to encourage students, both undergraduate and graduate level, to pursue this field of research. Dr. Rinlee Butch Cervera and Dr. Joey Ocon both discussed their current research efforts on energy storage.
Dr. Cervera first gave an introduction on what energy storage is, and its importance in the power sector. He then proceeded to discuss one of the types of energy storage in which he does research on – batteries. Batteries are the oldest form of energy storage which can be classified as either Primary, which can only be used once; or Secondary, which are rechargeable.
Dr. Cervera’s research focuses on replacing graphite as the anode material in a battery with something which has greater capacity. One material which is being explored is silicon which has a capacity which is 10 times greater than that of graphite.
Lastly, he discussed some applications of energy storage as well as another form of energy storage which is hydrogen energy storage in which excess energy for RE can be used to split up water into hydrogen and oxygen with the former being stored and contributed into the electricity grid.
Dr. Ocon began his lecture by giving an interesting figure that if the world were to turn off the overall supply, there would only be 33 minutes worth of electrical energy stored. He mentioned next the roles of energy storage which are: 1) to reduce electricity costs; 2) improve the reliability of the power supply; 3) maintain and improve power; and 4) solve other problems such as excessive power fluctuation and undependable power supply.
Next, he discussed Chemical Energy as a one of the long term solutions in energy storage. He discussed two key fields of research which he is involved in: Electrochemistry and Catalysis. Electrochemistry is the conversion of chemical energy into electrical energy and vice-versa and Catalysis is the acceleration of chemical reactions by a catalyst.
Dr. Ocon proceeded to the uses of energy storage in the Philippines which do involve batteries as well as pumped hydrogen storage. He concluded by mentioning several references if anyone was interested in reading more on energy storage.