In order to store energy from renewable sources, suitable and efficient energy carriers and storage units are needed. This applies both to mobile use and large storage power plants. Currently, (lithium) batteries and hydrogen are used as novel energy storage devices. However, they have not only to be economical and efficient, they must also be safe to be accepted by the consumers.
Ensuring the safety of energy storage systems is a core task of BAM.
The high energy density of lithium batteries and rechargeable batteries makes them interesting as power storage devices. However, lithium’s high reactivity poses a threat. Defective or damaged batteries can ignite and are difficult to extinguish.
BAM has the statutory task of determining the conditions under which defective lithium batteries may be safely transported. Transporting large, unpackaged prototypes must also be approved by BAM.
BAM conducts its own investigations into the safety assessment of lithium batteries and contributes its expertise to international regulatory development at the United Nations (UN).
Storage of gases as energy source
Hydrogen (H2) is becoming increasingly important as an energy carrier because it can be generated by using electricity and water and can be re-transformed into electricity. A closed H2-cycle is pollutant-free and therefore of ecological significance.
The storage of H2 is an ideal complement to battery storage, especially for the storage of large amount of energy, for example: in case of excessive electricity from renewable sources. The surpluses can be captured in the form of hydrogen and re-supplied when and where it is needed.
However, hydrogen gas storage also requires new methods for testing and safety assessment. BAM has the appropriate testing equipment and experience. BAM develops assessment procedures for ensuring safety in hydrogen technology. In addition, BAM is researching methods that can be used to optimise storage units. It also improves their lifetime prediction as well as other topics such as feeding H2 into natural gas pipelines.