Aluminum Metal as Energy Carrier for Seasonal Energy Storage (ALU-STORE)

Project description

The efficient use and recycling of energy materials is a precondition for the future development of an entirely greenhouse gas-free energy system on the way to a sustainable future based on a circular economy. In this context, abundant metals with high volumetric energy density and low supply risk, such as aluminum, iron, sodium, etc., have recently moved into the focus of the scientific community. They could replace critical materials (e.g., lithium, cobalt, nickel, natural graphite, copper, etc.) that form the backbone of today’s energy storage technologies, in particular batteries. Among all earth-abundant metals, aluminum is one of the most promising energy carrier candidates, offering the highest volumetric energy density, a theoretically completely carbon-free production potential, and 100% recyclability. In line with this, the ALU-STORE project mainly focuses on the potential for exploiting the maximum energy storage capacity of aluminum via the electrochemical energy conversion path. It aims to experimentally demonstrate the feasibility of using aluminum as energy carrier and storage medium for seasonal energy storage covering a wide spectrum of storage durations. This can support the energy storage demand needed to compensate for the fluctuating and intermittent character of renewable energy generation.

The project’s goals are:

  • the experimental proof of efficient electrochemical energy conversion using an aluminum cathode,
  • the sustainability assessment of the life-cycle stages (e.g., material production, use, and recycling), and
  • the verification of the overall feasibility of the entire aluminum-based energy storage concept, considering all the stakeholders involved.

ALU-STORE focuses on a new paradigm in the energy scenario with high societal impacts, sector coupling, providing additional flexibility and thus boosting renewable energies. In this way, it aims to integrate the life-cycle assessment approach directly into technology development, starting from low technology readiness levels (TRL). As a project partner, ITAS is also involved in all technological development stages to evaluate the techno-economic feasibility as well as the environmental sustainability aspects of the proposed aluminum-based energy storage technology.

Contact

Dr. Manuel Baumann
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe
Germany

Tel.: +49 721 608-23215
E-mail