On the Operational Characteristics and Economic Value of Pumped Thermal Energy Storage

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Pumped thermal energy storage (PTES) systems use an electrically-driven heat pump to store electricity in the form of thermal energy, and subsequently dispatch the stored thermal energy to generate electricity using a thermodynamic heat engine. Optimal day-ahead operational scheduling and annual value of a PTES system based on Joule–Brayton thermodynamic cycles and two-tank molten salt hot thermal storage is evaluated in this paper. Production cost models, which simultaneously optimize commitment and dispatch schedules for an entire set of generators to minimize the cost of satisfying electricity demand, are employed to determine system-optimal operation and day-ahead energy value of the PTES system within each of six hypothetical near-future grid scenarios intended to approximately represent the U.S. Western Interconnection or the Texas Interconnection. Sensitivity to grid scenario (including the contribution of variable renewable energy sources), thermal storage capacity, relative heat pump and heat engine capacities, and startup/shutdown cycling costs are evaluated. PTES energy value and heat engine annual capacity factor increase strongly as the contribution of variable renewable resources increases, heat pump capacity increases relative to heat engine capacity, or PTES cycling costs decrease. Grid scenarios in which the contribution of variable renewable energy is dominated by solar photovoltaics (PV) vs. wind produce inherently different PTES operational patterns. Annual PTES energy value within PV-dominated scenarios increased with storage capacity only up to approximately seven hours of full-load discharge capacity, whereas that within wind-dominated scenarios exhibited a continual increase with storage duration up to at least 16 hours.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number105005
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Energy Storage
Issue numberPart C
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-81640


  • Dispatch optimization
  • Electricity storage
  • Grid integration
  • Pumped thermal energy storage


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