Meeting inter-seasonal fluctuations in electricity production or demand in a system dominated by renewable energy requires the cheap, reliable and accessible storage of energy on a scale that is currently challenging to achieve. Commercially mature compressed-air energy storage could be applied to porous rocks in sedimentary basins worldwide, where legacy data from hydrocarbon exploration are available, and if geographically close to renewable energy sources. Here we present a modelling approach to predict the potential for compressed-air energy storage in porous rocks. By combining this with an extensive geological database, we provide a regional assessment of this potential for the United Kingdom. We find the potential storage capacity is equivalent to approximately 160% of the United Kingdom’s electricity consumption for January and February 2017 (77–96 TWh), with a roundtrip energy efficiency of 54–59%. This UK storage potential is achievable at costs in the range US$0.42–4.71 kWh−1.
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The data used to determine the predictive models are provided in the ‘TrainSet’ and ‘TestSet’ sheets of Supplementary Data 1. The conversion rates used for the costings are provided in the ‘Conversions’ sheet of Supplementary Data 1. The hydrocarbon volumes data are provided in Supplementary Table 4. The CO2 Stored data that support the findings of this study are available from the British Geological Survey and The Crown Estate, but restrictions apply to the availability of the data, which were used under licence for the current study, and so are not publicly available. Data are, however, available from http://www.co2stored.co.uk/ after registration, which grants free access. Full data download is considered on a case by case basis by the British Geological Survey and The Crown Estate. Other data and materials, not specified above, are available from the authors upon reasonable request.
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This work has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom and by the Energy Technology Partnership. The authors thank E.V. Hipkins for her proof reading of the draft, as well as the Geofluids research group from the University of Edinburgh for their suggestions.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Supplementary Figures 1–4, Supplementary Tables 1–8, Supplementary References
The “Costings” sheet contains the costings established using carbon capture and storage site costings as analogues, as well as hypothetical sites using areas highlighted by this research. The “Conversions” sheet presents the cost conversion from the original values reported in the literature to 2018 US dollars. The “TrainSet” sheet contains the results from the store, well and plant models used to determine the predictive models, along with the associated statistical summaries. The “TestSet” sheet contains the results from the store, well and plant models used to test the predictive accuracy of the predictive models, along with the reported Pearson coefficient between the modeled and predicted values
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Mouli-Castillo, J., Wilkinson, M., Mignard, D. et al. Inter-seasonal compressed-air energy storage using saline aquifers. Nat Energy 4, 131–139 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-018-0311-0