We got the opportunity to have an interview with Lane Sharman, from Open Door Management.
The interview covered a range of topics related to achieving 24-7 renewables instead of annual true-ups and the essence of thermal energy storage. Lane provided a wealth of information on the subject. Overall, the conversation provided a comprehensive overview of the challenges and potential solutions to achieving 24-7 renewables with annual true-ups.
Lane Sharman is an entrepreneur and consultant with over 30 years of general experience across a broad spectrum. He has a strong background in power project development, regulatory affairs, and government relations. He is known for his innovative approach to business models and provides valuable guidance in strategic management and financial matters.
Can you explain the concept of achieving 24/7 renewables versus annual true-ups? What are the main goals and advantages of this approach?
- The goal of achieving 24-7 renewables is different from today’s custom of annual true-ups. Currently, renewable energy like solar is only available for about 25% of the day. To achieve 24-7 renewables, we need to rely on long-duration thermal energy storage, lithium-ion batteries for short-duration periods, geothermal, and large pump hydroelectricity so the grid is truly clean and green 24/7.
How can this goal be achieved?
- We need to replace gas plants with long duration thermal storage. While there are challenges, many countries, including Sweden and Norway, are investing in offshore wind power and geothermal energy to achieve renewable energy goals that when stored in thermal energy arrays will power the grid with 24/7 renewable energy.
How far along in the process are we today?
- The majority of annual energy supplies are bought and matched up with annual consumption, but this does not necessarily mean that renewable energy is being used every hour of the day. Many companies are interested in using renewable energy every hour of the day but have found that they are not currently doing so.
What are potential solutions to achieving 24-7 renewable energy?
- There are various technologies that can be used to achieve 24-7 renewables, including long-duration thermal energy storage, lithium-ion batteries, geothermal, and pump hydroelectricity. The transition to renewable energy must occur at all scales, from industrial factories to residential water heaters. This means replacing gas water heaters, gas stoves, and gas power plants with renewable energy sources. Offshore wind power is also being developed in Sweden and Norway, and there are innovative companies working on thermal battery technology.
Companies such as Kraftblock, Rondo Energy and Kyoto are working on thermal battery technology, and Sunamp is a company developing residential and small commercial-scale water tanks that can be charged once a day during the middle of the day when the sun is shining. Sunamp is using innovative technology for storing energy as heat and releasing it when and where it's needed. Sunamp's thermal batteries include their high-performance phase-change material (PCM) Plentigrade. This material can deliver heating or cooling reliably, safely, and at a lower cost and with greater efficiency than other battery technologies. Sunamp's thermal batteries have the potential to contribute to the decarbonization of residential and commercial sectors. After decarbonizing energy production and transportation, this is the last frontier.
Kraftblock is another company that has potential to decarbonize heating. Kraftblock’s technology can store excess energy from renewable sources as heat and help decarbonize various fields. For energy suppliers, grid control, and the opportunity to store surplus energy supports their core business. Additionally, the system allows the repurposing of power plants and increasing their efficiency.
How is this approached in Sweden compared to the US?
- There are differences between countries and the challenges they face in transitioning to renewable energy. Sweden and the United States face many of the same challenges, such as social and welfare issues, and a diverse climate system.
We extend our gratitude to Lane Sharman for the engaging interview!
President at Open Doors Management