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Old 12-12-2018, 01:34 AM   #141
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Utility "unavailability" is NOT a function of its not being available! It's caused by logistics problems, & almost always due to someone's stupidity. That's speaking as a former Project Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy.
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:25 AM   #142
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Iíve read about using flywheels as storage devices. They could be made cheaply, have a massive weight for efficiency and storage capacity. Itís something worth exploring and once up to rotational velocity, it wouldnít take much to keep it there until the sun goes down.
Been reading about this technology for 40 years now. Very little progress. It is a great example of something that works well in the lab, but has difficulty in the field.

In the end, it is mechanical. Bearings and supports fail. Exotic bearings (think, maglev) are, well, still too exotic. Failures of the rotating mass hold great danger. It is not portable in a car, etc.

Maybe they can make it work someday. We'll see.
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Old 12-12-2018, 07:31 AM   #143
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An old friend and I recently shared a long car ride. He's a materials engineer, I'm a software engineer. We both had a long discussion on our respective past careers (both retired, we were on a volunteer gig).

The one thing that kept coming up was how applying research and lab products to the real world is so damn difficult. That is an engineer's job, after all. We shared frustrations of schedule and budget pressures. Despite our completely different disciplines, we shared this one foundational issue of engineering.

That's the thing. This stuff (new storage ideas) can and will happen. But can it be safe, economical, reliable, and manufacturable? Lab demos do not the real world make.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:44 AM   #144
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Regarding flywheel energy storage, Wikipedia has this article summarizing the various experimental applications. Most were for special applications, such as hybrid cars to recover and reuse energy which would have been lost during braking. Needless to say, most of these have been fulfilled more easily with lithium batteries.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel_energy_storage.

Most of the experiments were for smaller-scale and special applications, which require storing and discharging energy at a high power, but in periodic pulses. The examples include rail guns, catapults on aircraft carriers, testing equipments for labs testing circuit breakers, etc...

But for storing energy for long-term usage such as storing solar energy for use overnight, one can imagine that scaling up to a flywheel capable of storing GWh's is going to be a daunting task, not including consideration for catastrophic failures of the bearings.

I am surprised to learn of the following project for grid energy storage. The 80 MWh capacity is large enough to be exciting. This is more interesting than a lithium battery of the same capacity.

Quote:
Amber Kinetics, Inc. has an agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for a 20 MW / 80 MWh flywheel energy storage facility located in Fresno, CA with a four-hour discharge duration.
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Old 12-12-2018, 09:50 AM   #145
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About solar PV panels taking up 25% of the US land area, again I never did see David MacKay stating that. Perhaps it was for getting solar energy in the form of biomass, meaning growing vegetation then harvest it for energy.

Photovoltaic panels at 20% efficiency are hard to beat, and they are getting cheaper. The only problem is to store all that cheap and clean energy for overnight use. Technically, it is solved with lithium batteries. However, there's a huge difference between a technical solution and an economically affordable one.

Once we have that overnight storage, then we can shoot for storage for rainy days. Batteries are still very expensive as the earlier MIT article points out.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:05 AM   #146
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... Of course, we are talking about only needing a partial days supply as solar, wind, hydro, etc can be used to supplement all this at different parts of the day where excess can be stored but things like solar can simply be used during the day. ...
It's not that simple. Yes, you can say we will get some solar just about everyday, and probably some wind just about every day. So you could say we only need partial day's storage.

But, if those are each running, say @ 20% over the course of 3 days, that's 2.4 days of storage to get through. And consider that seasonally in many areas, solar is far lower in winter.

I've seen solar go to near zero for a week at a time, because of snow build up on the solar panels in an already weak period of short days and low angle. You can't easily shovel off acres and acres of solar panels. You can put them on frames that go more vertical in winter, but that adds cost.

A local (N IL) installation (400 kW) shows that Dec/Jan are less than 1/5th of the output we get in June/July. Wind is a little higher in winter, ~ 1.6x on average, so that helps, on average. But if you get a week of low winds, while solar is at 20% or worse, you've got a challenge. So seasonal effects are very significant, so very expensive for storage. Probably cheaper to keep enough gas peakers on line.

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Lowest cost large scale battery storage
Old 12-12-2018, 12:59 PM   #147
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Lowest cost large scale battery storage

The sweet-spot for battery storage farms is Sodium Metal Sulfur.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium...sulfur_battery

Not sure I would want liquid metal sodium operating at > 300 c nearby , but is lowest cost and energy transfer losses.

Several manufacturers now. in the past the main commercial manufacturers were in the soviet union.
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:02 PM   #148
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I haven't seen any discussions of storage vs peaking plants that mention that storage solutions have a significant recovery time vs peaking plants.

When a peaking plant is turned off, you can turn it back on right away at full capacity. On the other hand, when storage is used up it must be recharged. This not only takes time, but also consumes some of the existing generating capacity for quite some time.
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:17 PM   #149
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Some company is trying to develop towers to lift concrete to store energy.

That way it’s not like pumped hydro which requires certain topography.

Ironic th8ng is it’s a Swiss company working on this:

https://qz.com/1355672/stacking-conc...-store-energy/
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:20 PM   #150
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Just comes down to " Have your cake and eat it too " or as the uni-bomber Ted K. would say " Eat your cake and have it too ". The developed world just uses to much $@*-&&!%%#$ energy and natural resources because they are still relatively cheap.

The hangover from this 2 century party will last as long as human existence and beyond. ( assuming some life will continue if the earth can no longer support human life ).

Rant over for today
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:22 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by explanade View Post
Some company is trying to develop towers to lift concrete to store energy.

That way itís not like pumped hydro which requires certain topography.

Ironic th8ng is itís a Swiss company working on this:

https://qz.com/1355672/stacking-conc...-store-energy/
Maybe something like Sisyphus ? The Greeks were thinking way ahead
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Old 12-12-2018, 01:42 PM   #152
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I expected to see some discussion of LENR on this thread. Maybe not renewable, but essentially limitless, cheap energy. Once the technology is adopted, there would be no need for a distribution grid, since power would be preferentially generated on site. You could drive coast to coast for a nickle's worth of fuel. See Brillouin Energy, Leonardo corporation, Safire 2018 plasma engine and LENR replications in many other countries.

We are on the threshold of a technology revolution.
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:39 PM   #153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explanade View Post
Some company is trying to develop towers to lift concrete to store energy.

That way it’s not like pumped hydro which requires certain topography.

Ironic th8ng is it’s a Swiss company working on this:

https://qz.com/1355672/stacking-conc...-store-energy/
Interesting! It is the same idea as that of an American company that puts concrete blocks on rail cars to go up/down a hill for energy storage/retrieval. The project by the startup ARES (Advanced Rail Energy Storage) takes 106 acres of land to store 12.5MWhr of energy. That's quite a big footprint for the energy, and the cost of $55M is not exactly cheap either. The cost of $4400/kWh makes it 10 times more expensive than lithium batteries.

The Swiss stacked-concrete tower is more compact and has a smaller footprint. Probably not suitable for California, or where earthquake danger is high.

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Old 12-12-2018, 02:52 PM   #154
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explanade View Post
Some company is trying to develop towers to lift concrete to store energy.

That way it’s not like pumped hydro which requires certain topography.

Ironic th8ng is it’s a Swiss company working on this:

https://qz.com/1355672/stacking-conc...-store-energy/
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
Interesting! It is the same idea as that of an American company that puts concrete blocks on rail cars to go up/down a hill for energy storage/retrieval. ....
This was discussed on a tech forum I follow. It sounds attractive, but once you do the calculations, you understand that gravity is weaker than "the weak force".


Potential energy = mass x gravity x height.

Egrav = PE = mgh

PE = potential energy, J or kg.m2/s2

m = mass, kg

g = gravity = 9.8 m/s2

h = height, m


from wiki:
Quote:
Gravity is the weakest of the four fundamental forces of physics, approximately 10^38 times weaker than the strong force, 10^36 times weaker than the electromagnetic force and 10^29 times weaker than the weak force.
It takes a LOT of mass lifted a LOT of distance to store much energy.

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Old 12-12-2018, 02:54 PM   #155
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When we talk about an entire country, how many gigafactories will we need? And then, batteries do wear out, and we need to talk about attrition rate. We do not build them up just once, and call it done.
Total li-ion production capacity currently seems to be somewhere in the few hundreds of GWh right now, and growing at a 15% - 25% rate per year. That's doubling every 3 years or so.


The world uses ~22 million GWh per year. Storing 1% of that, 22.000 GWh. Assuming battery lifetime of 10 years, we need a 2.200 GWh of production. That's about four doublings, or 12 years.

Huge challenge, but doable and in the current trend. Millions of employees for sure.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/List_of...ty_consumption
https://www.energystoragenetworks.co...ys-new-report/

I'm not trying to handwave away the huge rampup and complete transformation here, just saying that there doesn't seem to be a showstopper to get there, certainly if we give it 20 years.
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:55 PM   #156
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Interesting! It is the same idea as that of an American company that puts concrete blocks on rail cars to go up/down a hill for energy storage/retrieval. The project by the startup ARES (Advanced Rail Energy Storage) takes 106 acres of land to store 12.5MWhr of energy. That's quite a big footprint for the energy, and the cost of $55M is not exactly cheap either. The cost of $4400/kWh makes it 10 times more expensive than lithium batteries.

The Swiss stacked-concrete tower is more compact and has a smaller footprint. Probably not suitable for California, or where earthquake danger is high.

There was just an earthquake in TN yesterday.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:54 PM   #157
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This was discussed on a tech forum I follow. It sounds attractive, but once you do the calculations, you understand that gravity is weaker than "the weak force".

...

It takes a LOT of mass lifted a LOT of distance to store much energy.

-ERD50
Life is not fair. When you need to store energy, gravity is not strong enough.

But when you need to move things about, or to escape to outer space, gravity is too strong.
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Old 12-12-2018, 05:58 PM   #158
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Total li-ion production capacity currently seems to be somewhere in the few hundreds of GWh right now, and growing at a 15% - 25% rate per year. That's doubling every 3 years or so.

The world uses ~22 million GWh per year. Storing 1% of that, 22.000 GWh. Assuming battery lifetime of 10 years, we need a 2.200 GWh of production. That's about four doublings, or 12 years.

Huge challenge, but doable and in the current trend. Millions of employees for sure.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/List_of...ty_consumption
https://www.energystoragenetworks.co...ys-new-report/

I'm not trying to handwave away the huge rampup and complete transformation here, just saying that there doesn't seem to be a showstopper to get there, certainly if we give it 20 years.
I would not mind if lithium battery gets less expensive. And long before the world uses it in massive energy storage plants, I will already use recycled EV batteries in my DIY home energy storage system.

One can go on eBay, and search for "EV battery" to see that there's a market for batteries taken off totaled cars for use in DIY home storage systems. The going price is around $200-300 for 1 kWh. Not real cheap yet.

Last year, I was able to acquire 22kWh of LiFePO4 cells, surplus and unused, to use in my home system. Heh heh heh...
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:09 PM   #159
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from wiki:
It takes a LOT of mass lifted a LOT of distance to store much energy.

-ERD50
Without getting scientific, I would surmise that it takes a lot of energy to move and lift that mass where you want it.
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Old 12-12-2018, 06:22 PM   #160
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I would not mind if lithium battery gets less expensive. And long before the world uses it in massive energy storage plants, I will already use recycled EV batteries in my DIY home energy storage system.

One can go on eBay, and search for "EV battery" to see that there's a market for batteries taken off totaled cars for use in DIY home storage systems. The going price is around $200-300 for 1 kWh. Not real cheap yet.

Last year, I was able to acquire 22kWh of LiFePO4 cells, surplus and unused, to use in my home system. Heh heh heh...
This guy powers his home with Tesla batteries.
https://057tech.com/solar

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