Author(s): Robert Klar, Matthias Tonnel
Keywords: Pumped-storage; Hydroelectricity; Floating architecture;
Abstract: Electricity storage and regulation is the key to reliable and sustainable future energy systems based on wind and sun. Proven pumped-storage hydropower (PSH) accounts currently for over 94 per cent of installed global energy storage capacity and over 99 per cent in terms of energy stored (IHA 2018). A growing decentralization of energy production systems caused by a raising number of renewable sources requires decentralized storage systems as well. Buoyant Energy (BE) a hydraulic storage approach transfers PSH main features to marine environments. In essence, BE consists of large floating water reservoirs and hydraulic pump-turbine/motor-generator systems. In a charge-discharge cycle, electrical power is converted to gravitational energy and vice versa by moving water between sea and reservoir against a pressure difference.
The application of BE systems along coastal areas is of particular interest due to the progressive urbanization and the associated strong growth of coastal cities. The idea of ‘Buoyant Energy Quarters’ (BEQs) emerged to cover energy storage and building ground needs by one solution. BEQs are floating urban neighborhoods. They are uniquely well suited for resource-efficient and environmentally friendly concrete construction. Composed of modules, BEQs can be adjusted, expanded and re-combined easily to adapt to different social needs over time.