Transforming energy storage with Long Duration Energy Storage

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The adverse effects of climate change have become more visible in recent years. Decarbonising the energy sector is imperative to mitigate fossil fuel usage and pave the way for a cleaner future. The energy sector relies heavily on fossil fuels and urgently requires renewable alternatives. However, the question remains: how can renewable energy sources adequately meet the demand of energy sectors?   

The sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow. The unpredictable nature of renewable energy sources presents many challenges for the power grid. Reliance on base-load generators powered by fossil fuels further complicates this transition.  

A multifaceted approach to renewable energy expansion is essential to achieving net-zero emissions. Renewables are intermittent or variable, so a balance of supply and demand during transition is essential. When excess energy is generated from renewables, Long-Duration Energy Storage (LDES) can store that energy to prevent the curtailment of renewable energy resources. Think of it as a container where energy can be stored and transferred to the grid when needed. LDES emerged as a pivotal solution, particularly highlighted at COP26.  

Long Duration Energy Storage and its different types

LDES employs various technologies – mechanical, chemical, thermal, and electrochemical – that can store energy for extended periods and be economically scaled up to ensure continuous energy supply for days or even weeks. LDES offers flexibility and balances the fluctuations of supply and demand. It integrates and offers flexibility across the entire energy system, including power, heat, Hydrogen, and other energy forms. 

Type Description Examples
MechanicalStores potential energy through tension or positionUnderground pump hydro, Liquid air storage, Liquid CO2 storage 
ThermalStores energy in the form of heatSensible heat storage 
ChemicalStores energy in chemical bondsPower-to-gas-to-power 
ElectrochemicalStores energy in chemical reactionsAqueous electrolyte flow battery, Metal anode battery, Hybrid flow battery 
Why long duration energy storage is a promising solution?

Lithium-ion batteries store energy efficiently but for a limited duration, making them ideal for short-term energy needs. In contrast, Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES) can retain energy for extended periods, akin to a supercharged battery. 

LDES is crucial for covering the base load of energy. While combining numerous batteries to meet power demands can be expensive, LDES provides a more cost-effective solution. Building LDES capacity is remarkably affordable, and increasing capacity enhances storage duration. The technologies enable energy to be stored for 24 hours or even longer, making LDES a vital component in transitioning to sustainable energy solutions. 

Energy storage duration

Normal batteries only cover a few hours; we need 24*7 power accessibility. Renewable energy, in combination with LDES, can cover the power demand of industries. It can assure countries or organisations that they can advance their decarbonisation journey. Through LDES technologies, we can transition towards renewable energy in a reliable, affordable, and sustainable way. Wind and solar are affordable energies, and the disparity in supply and demand can be overcome through long-term energy storage technologies. Companies like Tata Steel, Arcelor Mittal, BHP, Rio Tinto, Yara, Avery Dennison, Eni and Microsoft are embarking on their journeys towards decarbonisation. 

The diverse membership of the LDES council, encompassing stakeholders from various sectors, highlights the widespread recognition of LDES’s importance. The Net Zero Heat report states that LDES can provide clean, reliable power and heat, validating its significance in heat transition.  

Improvising energy supply and grid stability

LDES can help industries in remote areas or with unstable power grids with continuous energy supply, which is the need of most industries. Large off-grid operations such as mines, farms, military bases, and companies in areas with poor power infrastructures, such as developing countries, are among the primary consumers. LDES is generally preferable to grid expansion since it is easier to set up and less location dependent. 

Renewable energy sources may impact grid stability during peak demand periods, resulting in voltage swings, frequency regulation concerns, and system congestion. Developing countries can address these issues by integrating LDES into the grid, making it more resilient and capable of balancing supply and demand. 

By 2030, we could have up to 60 gigawatts (GW) of LDES in use, storing 1.5 terawatt-hours (TWh). By 2040, this might increase to 110 GW and around 4 TWh. The potential savings from reduced fossil fuel use are projected to reach USD 20-30 billion by 2030 and increase to 120 billion by 2040. Furthermore, the need for LDES may increase as climate change reduces grid reliability. 

Long-Duration Energy Storage (LDES) – Low costs and zero-carbon

The power sector should be completely decarbonised to attain global climate goals by 2040. An insightful analysis by McKinsey, authored by the LDES Council, argues that with government support for the timely development of the LDES market, the energy system would function smoothly with a large share of power coming from renewables. Thus, it will help decarbonise the economy, bringing us a step closer to net zero emissions.  

It is projected that long-duration energy storage (LDES) technologies are ready for commercial use that can reduce industrial emissions by as much as 65%. These technologies could potentially prevent the release of around 7.7 billion tons of CO2 right now.  

However, we need government policies and market support for this reduction to happen. These measures are essential to ensuring that these technologies are widely adopted and effectively deployed to achieve these emission reductions.  

Moreover, within the United States, adopting LDES technology could play a pivotal role in reducing the overall cost of transitioning to a fully decarbonised power system. By the year 2040, it is anticipated that the integration of LDES could result in annual savings of approximately $35 billion. This cost reduction is attributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of LDES in facilitating the transition towards cleaner energy sources, thus mitigating the financial burden associated with carbon emissions.

Prospects of LDES Technologies

In their analysis, McKinsey has projected that by the year 2040, the deployment of long-duration energy storage (LDES) systems could exhibit remarkable potential. These systems are envisaged to store between 1.5 and 2.5 terawatts (TW) of power globally. This projection signifies a substantial increase, ranging from eight to 15 times the current energy storage capacity.  

Moreover, McKinsey forecasts that these LDES systems could accumulate between 85 and 140 terawatt-hours (TWh) of energy capacity by 2040. This represents a significant proportion of global electricity consumption, potentially amounting to 10% of the total consumption.  

However, realising such ambitious projections would necessitate a considerable investment. McKinsey estimates that the cumulative investment required could range from $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion. This substantial financial commitment underscores the scale of resources required to materialise the envisioned expansion of long-duration energy storage infrastructure worldwide.  

Additionally, long-duration energy storage (LDES) could play a vital role in directly substituting heat supply for high-temperature fossil-fuelled processes. For instance, thermal energy storage could power kilns for cement production. LDES could complement other technologies, such as electric LDES combined with electric kilns or thermal energy storage paired with concentrated solar power systems.

Potential Drawbacks of LDES

While LDES has a lot of potential, some drawbacks need to be considered:

Cost and Economics:

The development and application of LDES technologies will be expensive. Initially, the investment, operation and maintenance costs may have some challenges. Mostly, LDES involve large-scale infrastructure, which requires heavy capital investment. 

Tech Maturity:

Several LDES technologies are still in their infancy. Their maturity levels vary, and not all options are viable. Some novel LDES solutions need research and validation before widespread adoption.

Efficiency of Energy Conversion:

Long-duration energy storage involves converting energies, which includes losses that may affect the overall efficiency. Moreover, storing electricity over an extended period and retrieving it with the same efficiency will result in more challenges.

Resource availability:

LDES relies on specific materials, and their non-availability may hinder its application. 

Environmental impact:

Although LDES helps reduce greenhouse gas, some types, like chemical-based energy systems, may have environmental implications due to raw material extraction, production, and disposal.  

Despite these challenges, LDES remains a promising solution for decarbonisation. Working on these challenges with full government support will help humans unlock the full potential of long-duration energy storage. 


Long-duration energy storage is a critical facilitator in the transition towards renewable energy, providing solutions to grid instability and facilitating the integration of intermittent renewable sources. With its scalability and continuous power supply, it is a vital component in meeting global climate objectives and encouraging a sustainable energy future. Investing in LDES technologies and supportive government policies will be essential to realising a cleaner, more resilient energy future as we work towards decarbonisation and net zero emissions. 


Long-duration storage: mechanical, electrochemical, thermal. We’ll need all three 
Long Duration Energy Storage: Use Cases, Technologies, and Outlook 
Driving to Net Zero Industry Through Long Duration Energy Storage 
Net-zero power: Long-duration energy storage for a renewable grid 
The Long Duration Energy Storage Search – How Close are we to Low Costs and Zero Carbon? 
So, What Exactly Is Long-Duration Energy Storage? 

    Team Evoscien

    We are a team of eco-conscious writers dedicated to exploring the latest innovations in sustainability and eco-friendliness. Through our passion for creating a better future for our planet, we aim to share informative and inspiring content that encourages more sustainable lifestyles and promotes eco-friendly practices.

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