The Latest Energy Storage Gizmo Is An “Ocean Battery” With A Bladder

January 10, 2022 | Renewables | Energy Facts Staff Writer | 3min

The Ocean Battery is a new bladder-based energy storage system for offshore wind farms, which garnered a “Best of Innovation” award at CES 2022.

The Intertubes are absolutely on fire with news about a new “ocean battery” energy storage invention that uses gigantic undersea bladders to soak up excess energy from offshore wind turbines. The idea is not as crazy as it sounds — at least the judges at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas don’t think so.

The Seawater Version Of Compressed Air Energy Storage

If you’re thinking this is bladder idea is similar to compressed air storage, well, kind of. The foundational element is the fact that wind energy runs on its own timetable, and its schedule is often out of sync with demand for electricity. Energy storage systems enable wind turbines to keep working even when demand is low.

In compressed air storage, the formula is pretty straightforward: use excess electricity to run air compression systems when demand is low, then release the air to run turbines that generate electricity when demand is high.

A Better Battery For Offshore Wind Farms

The Dutch startup Ocean Grazer wowed the judges at CES 2022 with its contribution to the undersea storage field, garnering a CES 2022 “Best of Innovation” award for its Ocean Battery technology.

Relatively speaking, it’s been a short road trip from lab to market for the company. Ocean Grazer spun off from the University of Groningen in 2014 as a study project, then made a quick pivot into commercial development in 2019.

Ocean Grazer apparently won its “Best of” title not only on account of the technology itself, but on its potential for application at offshore wind farms.

“The Ocean Battery is a Breakthrough solution based on our proprietary Key Enabling Technology to solve the huge Challenge of Balancing Supply & Demand for the Global offshore e-Power industry due to Intermittent Production of Wind Power,” Ocean Grazer explains.  “Our Patented and Sustainably produced Ocean Battery system, substantially Lowers the CapEx for the massively expensive Offshore Power Grid, generating a very high ROI for the unique Ocean Battery.”

Ocean Grazer notes that the rush to develop offshore wind farms will result in wild fluctuations in supply and demand, unless energy storage scales up. Energy storage will help avoid — if not eliminate — brownouts and blackouts when the wind dies down. It will also enable producers to reserve excess kilowatts during periods of oversupply, avoiding the impact of low or even negative pricing on their bottom lines.