Energy storage

Energy storage is accomplished by devices or physical media that store energy to perform useful work at a later time. In permaculture energy storage is defined broadly to include batteries but also water e.g. capturing flowing water and rainfall for use as needed, passive solar techniques, wood for the log pile and for construction, management to promote deep, healthy soils, using wind energy for pumping or power generation, food preservation, saving seeds for the next growing season and also deepening knowledge and understanding so that we have the insights we need to draw on when problems arise. Much of the thinking about energy storage for domestic situations focuses on the development of battery systems to allow householders to use the electricity they produce e.g. with solar pv, more directly and to provide a degree of energy security e.g. during power cuts. Lithium-ion batteries (Li-ion) is a promising energy storage technology- offering the potential for low maintenance, highly efficient energy storage- which is still in development. Early versions are beginning to become available. Permaculture design seeks to capture and store energy to increase growth of living systems. The strategy is to take energies flowing through a site and to divert them into ‘cycles’ to allow them to be utilised to increase the available energy on the site. In energy cycling, energies present on the site that would otherwise flow out of the system are recycled; and incoming energies are captured and stored. Examples of energy cycling, include capturing ‘wild’ energies such as wind and sun to generate electricity, gathering fallen leaves to be used for mulch or compost, composting from kitchen scraps, redirecting domestic grey water into the garden, using animal manure for compost or biogas, and capturing rain water in an elevated spot so gravity can carry it onto plants later.