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|NASA G2 flywheel module|
Energy storage is accomplished by devices or physical media that store some form of energy to perform some useful operation at a later time. A device that stores energy is sometimes called an accumulator.
All forms of energy are either potential energy (e.g. Chemical, gravitational, electrical energy, etc.) or kinetic energy (e.g. thermal energy). A wind-up clock stores potential energy (in this case mechanical, in the spring tension), a battery stores readily convertible chemical energy to operate a mobile phone, and a hydroelectric dam stores energy in a reservoir as gravitational potential energy. Ice storage tanks store ice (thermal energy) at night to meet peak demand for cooling. Fossil fuels such as coal and gasoline store ancient energy derived from sunlight by organisms that later died, became buried and over time were then converted into these fuels. Even food (which is made by the same process as fossil fuels) is a form of energy stored in chemical form.
Types of energy storage
As mentioned above, there are myriad ways to store potential or kinetic energy for later use. Some more specific examples are:
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