Development of utility scale buoyant energy storage technology

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Thornbrue, Tyler Benjamin
buoyant energy storage technology; energy storage
thesis / dissertation description
Power intermittency is a growing concern as variable renewable power producers increase their penetration on utility grids. With a majority of US states adopting renewable portfolio standards, mitigation strategies such as energy storage are receiving renewed attention. This thesis presents the developmental progress of a novel method of energy storage referred to as buoyant energy storage technology (BEST). Various concepts are presented, and benefits highlighted before demonstrating a basic system's performance through dynamic modeling. A control methodology is then designed and implemented to improve the performance and functionality of the same model. Further expansion to a dual buoy model and control methodology follows to enhance the system through a regenerative braking power transfer technique. A proof of concept is then demonstrated and options for scaled up testing discussed. Finally, a cost comparison analysis is presented that juxtaposes BEST with pumped hydroelectric and battery energy storage technologies.