The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued invitations requesting proposals to develop gravity storage projects and also to utilize solar photovoltaic (PV) to produce hydrogen from seawater.
The ministry believes that with the increasing share of renewables in the country, there will soon be a requirement for energy storage to absorb fluctuations and for grid balancing.
Gravity-based energy storage has been proposed as a potential solution with unique advantages of short response time and flexibility. In such systems, electricity is used to lift mass to a higher elevation, thereby storing potential energy and lowering this mass discharges the energy can again be converted to electricity. Globally, several entities are working in this segment.
The MNRE has invited preliminary project proposals on gravity storage. The preliminary proposals will be examined by a committee, and shortlisted proposals will be invited to submit a final proposal. The objective is to develop state of the art technological know-how and develop a prototype system that has commercialization potential in the short term.
The proposal targets end to end complete technological solutions. The proposing institution may consider evolving multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, and multi-partner approach, including industry with an identified and complementary role of each member. Proposals have to be submitted to the MNRE by June 30, 2019.
The MNRE is of the view that globally, significant research is underway for minimizing the energy loss in electrolysis and developing a cost-competitive process for transforming the hydrogen and CO2 into methane (CH4). Excess electricity generated by intermittent renewables can be used to make hydrogen via water electrolysis, and the subsequent application of the Sabatier reaction would produce methane. The methane can then be used on demand to generate electricity (and heat — combined heat and power). This process has the potential to create a reliable, zero-emission source of fuel.
The ministry has invited preliminary project proposals on ‘solar driven seawater hydrogen production and producing methane by sequestering CO2’. The preliminary proposals will be examined by a committee, and shortlisted proposals will be invited to submit the final proposal. Proposals need to be submitted to the MNRE by June 30, 2019.
The MNRE plays an active role in ushering in new technology into India’s renewable energy sector. Recently, Mercom reported that the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), an autonomous institute under the MNRE, had announced that it would organize the fifteenth edition of its workshop on the prospects for startups for solar technologies.
In November 2018, Tata Power announced that it would deploy a 35 MWh Energy Vault system. Energy Vault system is based on the principles of traditional gravity-based pumped hydro projects that rely on the power of gravity and the movement of water to store and discharge electricity. The technology combines both potential and kinetic energy with patented cloud-based software. It is expected to address one of the biggest problems faced when dealing with renewable energy – intermittency.