SUBSURFACE PUMPED HYDRO
Terrain-independent and cost-effective.
Quidnet Energy pioneered a novel form of pumped hydro that is widely deployable at very low cost called Flex Formation Subsurface Pumped Hydro. Leveraging mature oil & gas technology, wells are converted into energy storage facilities for large-scale renewables integration and grid management. These developments are:
- Terrain-independent. Pumped hydro electricity storage without need for mountains, lakes, or pre-existing underground caverns.
- Cost-effective. Structural cost advantage, with lower per-MW installed costs than even gas peaking plants.
- Reliable. Key process equipment provided and serviced by mature suppliers from well-established industries.
- Modular. 5 - 30 MW modular configurations for flexible and precise deployment onto the grid.
How does it work? Water is pumped down the well to apply pressure to a body of rock, and in doing so, store energy in the compression of the rock. When it is time to discharge back onto the grid, the compression in the rock is released, which pushes the water back up the well and through a turbine to generate electricity. The entire system is built on conventional reservoir technology and with off-the-shelf water turbine-generator equipment. Facilities operate with closed-loop water systems, designed for conservation against evaporative loss, and regularly treated with disinfectants. The energy-storing rock bodies are non-petroleum bearing and found abundantly throughout the US, intersecting with major electricity transmission and distribution hubs.
Why are we doing this?
Decarbonization of the electricity grid is an essential component to solving climate change and recognizing this, a tremendous effort is underway to bring renewable generation onto the grid, such as wind and solar.
However, grid decarbonization today is at an impasse. The intermittency of renewable generators are causing ever larger power swings on the grid, leading to blackouts and forced curtailments. Without a cost-effective electricity storage solution to buffer those swings and "shift" renewable power to when the grids needs it, renewables will be nothing but a niche source of clean power.
Water is a vital energy resource and can be utilized to efficiently store electricity at extremely large capacities. Pumped hydro is by far the largest and most cost-effective form of energy storage today (over 100 GW worldwide). However, due to dependency on terrain, pumped hydro could not be widely implemented, until Quidnet.