Posts Tagged ‘energy storage’

Virtual power plant concept


In a nutshell: when part-time renewables aren’t producing, something else – which has to be paid for and is likely to be expensive – must take over, because virtual electricity doesn’t work.

Norwegian energy group Statkraft has unveiled a virtual power plant in the UK which connects wind, solar and gas engines with battery storage and can respond to market demands in seconds, reports PEI.

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Lithium ion battery


As ever there’s a big gap to be bridged between lab tests and industrial-scale application, but tests seem promising.

The latest lithium-ion batteries on the market are likely to extend the charge-to-charge life of phones and electric cars by as much as 40 percent, says TechXplore.

This leap forward, which comes after more than a decade of incremental improvements, is happening because developers replaced the battery’s graphite anode with one made from silicon.

Research from Drexel University and Trinity College in Ireland now suggests that an even greater improvement could be in line if the silicon is fortified with a special type of material called MXene.

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Quite right, but not what climate-obsessed politicians and the ‘Greenblob’ crowd want to hear.

STOP THESE THINGS

Bill says it’s time to stop jerking around with wind & solar.

When the world’s richest entrepreneur says wind and solar will never work, it’s probably time to listen.

Bill Gates made a fortune applying common sense to the untapped market of home computing. The meme has it that IBM’s CEO believed there was only a market for five computers in the entire world. Gates thought otherwise. Building a better system than any of his rivals and shrewdly working the marketplace, resulted in hundreds of millions hooked on PCs, Windows and Office. This is a man that knows a thing or two about systems and a lot about what it takes to satisfy the market.

For almost a century, electricity generation and distribution were treated as a tightly integrated system: it was designed and built as one, and is meant to operate as designed. However, the chaotic delivery of wind…

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Image credit: energy-storage.news


No surprise there, but the points made deserve emphasis. No amount of ideology can defeat the realities of engineering and economics.

Engineer pours cold water on battery and hydrogen technologies – GWPF press release.
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A new briefing paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) dismisses the idea that grid-scale electricity storage can help bring about a UK renewables revolution.

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Scottish offshore wind project [image credit : urbanrealm.com]


The very fact that these kinds of idea are being put forward is another admission that renewables are chronically intermittent and unreliable as electricity generators. We’re told ‘considerable investment’ would be needed but they ignore the fact that, for less cost and complexity, some reliable new gas power stations would be a far more practical plan.

By pumping compressed air into porous rocks deep under the sea floor, scientists think we could effectively store energy for months at a time, says Discover magazine.

With reports about climate change becoming increasingly dire, it’s increasingly important to find an eco-friendly way to not only generate energy, but also store it.

After all, wind turbines and solar power and the like don’t run steadily. So we can’t just stick that extra energy in a bottle to use when the wind dies down and the sun sets.

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Risky business [image credit: safetysource.co.nz]


Well, partly battery-powered to be more exact. Government subsidies play a part in the economics of this, as the article shows. Battery purchase and installation costs are not stated, nor is the expected lifetime. Then there’s the insurance bill for a lot of fire-prone lithium in or next to a building.

The Gyle Premier Inn in Edinburgh is trialling a new 100kW lithium-ion battery supplied and installed by E.ON at its 200-room site in a bid to improve energy efficiency, secure power supply and enable onsite energy cost savings.

The battery is 3m3 in size and weighs approximately five tonnes, reports PEI.

It can run the hotel – including powering meals cooked at its restaurant – for up to three hours.

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This may or may not have its uses, but any idea that the whole world could get electricity mainly from the sun and the wind is not credible, with today’s technology at least.

MIT engineers have come up with a conceptual design for a system to store renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and deliver that energy back into an electric grid on demand, says TechExplore.

The system may be designed to power a small city not just when the sun is up or the wind is high, but around the clock.

The new design stores heat generated by excess electricity from solar or wind power in large tanks of white-hot molten silicon, and then converts the light from the glowing metal back into electricity when it’s needed.

The researchers estimate that such a system would be vastly more affordable than lithium-ion batteries, which have been proposed as a viable, though expensive, method to store renewable energy. They also estimate that the system would cost about half as much as pumped hydroelectric storage—the cheapest form of grid-scale energy storage to date.

“Even if we wanted to run the grid on renewables right now we couldn’t, because you’d need fossil-fueled turbines to make up for the fact that the renewable supply cannot be dispatched on demand,” says Asegun Henry, the Robert N. Noyce Career Development Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “We’re developing a new technology that, if successful, would solve this most important and critical problem in energy and climate change, namely, the storage problem.”

Henry and his colleagues have published their design today in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

Record temps

The new storage system stems from a project in which the researchers looked for ways to increase the efficiency of a form of renewable energy known as concentrated solar power.

Unlike conventional solar plants that use solar panels to convert light directly into electricity, concentrated solar power requires vast fields of huge mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto a central tower, where the light is converted into heat that is eventually turned into electricity.

“The reason that technology is interesting is, once you do this process of focusing the light to get heat, you can store heat much more cheaply than you can store electricity,” Henry notes.

Concentrated solar plants store solar heat in large tanks filled with molten salt, which is heated to high temperatures of about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. When electricity is needed, the hot salt is pumped through a heat exchanger, which transfers the salt’s heat into steam. A turbine then turns that steam into electricity.

“This technology has been around for a while, but the thinking has been that its cost will never get low enough to compete with natural gas,” Henry says. “So there was a push to operate at much higher temperatures, so you could use a more efficient heat engine and get the cost down.”

However, if operators were to heat the salt much beyond current temperatures, the salt would corrode the stainless steel tanks in which it’s stored. So Henry’s team looked for a medium other than salt that might store heat at much higher temperatures.

They initially proposed a liquid metal and eventually settled on silicon—the most abundant metal on Earth, which can withstand incredibly high temperatures of over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Last year, the team developed a pump that could withstand such blistering heat, and could conceivably pump liquid silicon through a renewable storage system. The pump has the highest heat tolerance on record—a feat that is noted in “The Guiness Book of World Records.”

Since that development, the team has been designing an energy storage system that could incorporate such a high-temperature pump.

Continued here.

Research article: Secular decrease of wind power potential in India associated with warming in the Indian Ocean

Industrial Runcorn [image credit: Ineos]


We’re told Project Centurion ‘will be the largest water to hydrogen electrolyzer system in the world’. But as a percentage of the volume, how much hydrogen could safely be injected into the existing gas supply, and would it be worth the bother? This looks like the press release.

ITM Power announced funding from Innovate UK for a feasibility study to deploy a 100MW Power-to-Gas (P2G) energy storage project, “Project Centurion” at Runcorn, Cheshire, UK, reports Green Car Congress.

This project explores the electrolytic production, pipeline transmission, salt cavern storage and gas grid injection of green hydrogen at an industrial scale.

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Apart from a major question of practicality, where’s the money supposed to come from for these ideologically driven policies?

Some citizens are already resisting…
California Climate Policies Facing Revolt from Civil-Rights Groups

STOP THESE THINGS

Renewable energy zealots talk about the ‘transition’ to an all wind and sun powered future being ‘inevitable’. Except that the only thing inevitable about running on sunshine and breezes, is grid chaos and rocketing power prices. Ask a South Australian.

It is also what that crazy German Corporal with the funny moustache called a “big lie”: so helpful to the tyrant because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted and more readily fall victim to a colossal untruth, than the small lie.

The idea that a country can run itself entirely on wind and solar power is, of course, patent nonsense.

But, there are plenty profiting from that ideologically driven fiction, who have worked out that if you ramp up the claims to the height of ridiculousness, there are plenty of idiots ready to believe you.

California has done just that.

California cannot run on…

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Typical electric car set-up


As the worldwide ideological push to establish electric vehicles continues, all is not well in the world of lithium extraction and usage.

As the world scrambles to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, the environmental impact of finding all the lithium required could become a major issue in its own right, says Wired UK.

Here’s a thoroughly modern riddle: what links the battery in your smartphone with a dead yak floating down a Tibetan river?

The answer is lithium – the reactive alkali metal that powers our phones, tablets, laptops and electric cars.

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New York’s other Battery: Battery Park in Manhattan (image credit: Gryffindor @ Wikipedia)


New York expects to change its future weather by installing lots of expensive mega-batteries, according to the Governor. But is fear of a harmless trace gas essential to life more like superstition than science?

The state has set a target to install 1.5GW of batteries by 2025, reports Energy Live News.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced an ‘Energy Storage Roadmap’ to guide the state toward its energy storage target of 1.5GW by 2025.

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Image credit: Highview Power


Is this just another way of making renewable energy even more expensive, or what? The claim is that this “is a great step forward in the creation of a truly decentralized energy system in the UK allowing end-users to balance the national electricity network at times of peak demand”. Cranking up the boilers at the power station is going out of fashion along with the power stations themselves, but the price is high due to subsidies, and security of electricity supply is uncertain.

The world’s first grid-scale liquid air energy storage plant officially launched today, reports PEI.

The 5MW/15MWh plant near Manchester in England will become the first operational demonstration of liquid air energy storage (LAES) technology at grid-scale.

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Image credit: energy-storage.news


As the advance of subsidised renewables makes new gas or coal fired power stations ever less economic to build and operate, one of the supposed answers to the artificially created reliability problem is to add batteries to help ‘balance’ the grid. Of course this will also be expensive, and only marginally useful as batteries don’t generate their own power, but that’s just an issue for bill-paying consumers in the privatised UK energy system.

A battery installation at a UK biomass power plant is making news this month says TechXplore . Supporters call it an important recognition of the “enormous potential for battery solutions” in the UK.

The company is E.ON. The challenge, as they attempt to meet it, is doing their bit to balance the grid.

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Power lines in Victoria, Australia [credit: Wikipedia]


Still trying to square the circle of unreliable, expensive renewables and reliable, affordable electricity supplies. At least one backbencher is starting to get it: “The problem with solar and wind … you’ve got to have them backed up in some way, and that’s either got to be a coal-fired power station, a gas generator or some form of battery.” And making batteries to the scale of power stations is neither practical nor affordable.

The details have not officially been released, but the ABC understands Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will argue his policy will lower electricity bills more than a Clean Energy Target (CET), while meeting Australia’s Paris climate change commitments, as the GWPF reports.

It is understood Cabinet last night also agreed to force retailers to guarantee a certain amount of so-called dispatchable power that can be switched on and off on demand, to avoid outages.

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What effect the extra demands of being used for energy storage might have on the long-term efficiency and life of the electric vehicle’s battery is not mentioned. They hope that more EVs on such schemes could reduce the need for new power generation, by allowing smarter management of existing resources.

Ovo, the UK electricity supplier, is to offer a ‘vehicle-to-grid’ service to buyers of the Nissan Leaf from next year, allowing electric car owners’ to drive for free by letting energy firms use their vehicle’s batteries, reports Power Engineering International.

Savings from the scheme will cover the £350-£400 annual cost of charging a Nissan Leaf, the electricity supplier told the Guardian.

The move could mean greater take-up of electric vehicles and help power grids manage the growth in green energy, according to its backers.

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Former Tilbury power station


If this goes ahead it’s likely to be finished years before the troubled Hinkley Point nuclear plant.

German utility RWE has commenced the planning process for the construction of a 2.5 GW gas-fired power plant in Essex, England, reports Power Engineering International.

If the development is to proceed it would be a big boost for the UK energy system, as old coal and nuclear plants are being taken out of the equation.

RWE is starting the planning process to build a 2.5 GW gas power plant in Tilbury, Essex on the site of a former biomass station in what could be a potential boost to the UK energy system.

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There’s the wind, water, and solar (WWS) vision promoted by a few academics, and then there’s economic and technical reality – with a seriously large chasm in between.

Friends of Science Calgary

Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2017

A new paper prepared by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Earth System Laboratory and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is drawing attention in policy circles in the U.S. The paper critiques the claims of a study by Mark Jacobson et. al. that it is feasible, at low cost, to achieve 100% conversion of the U.S. electricity generation system to wind, hydroelectricity and solar energy by 2050 (the “WWS Vision”).

The authors of the critique include experts in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, who could not be accused of being “climate sceptics”. Indeed, they have previously authored reports in which they concluded that an 80% decarbonisation of the U.S. electrical grid eventually could be achieved at “reasonable” cost, assuming that a broad suite of generation options and other technologies are employed. Their critique of the Jacobson…

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What could possibly go wrong? Like all pumped storage, every ‘refill’ uses more electricity for the pumping than is generated by its water release. The UK is also looking to develop similar schemes. The motivation is the intermittency of renewables.

The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia is set to turn its Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine in Bottrop into a 200 MW pumped-storage hydroelectric plant reports PEI.

The facility will act like a battery and will have enough capacity to power more than 400,000 homes, according to state governor Hannelore Kraft.

Other mines may also be converted after Prosper-Haniel because the state needs more industrial-scale storage as it seeks to double the share of renewables in its power mix to 30 per cent by 2025, she said. North-Rhine Westphalia generates a third of Germany’s power.
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Credit: impactlab.net

Credit: impactlab.net


Is the world ready for organic flow batteries using extracts from rhubarb? PEI reports on some new electricity storage ideas hoping to save renewable energy from ultimate failure. ‘Holy Grail’ or wild goose chase – time will tell.

The US energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, believes the advances being made in storage technology means that the country will be completely decarbonised by the 2050s.

A global race, seen initially in Europe and the US is leading to a rapid acceleration in innovation that may dispense with the need for nuclear and thermal power by that time according to the technology’s backers, as the Achilles heel of intermittency will no longer impact on the overall effectiveness of renewables.

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Irish transmission lines [image credit: thejournal.ie]

Irish transmission line [image credit: thejournal.ie]


Nothing about costs, but let’s see how this demonstration project goes. The technology has already been tried in cars.

Europe’s first flywheel hybrid energy storage plant has been officially launched in Ireland, reports PEI.

The plant in Rhode, County Offaly, is owned and operated by Irish energy company Schwungrad Energie and is expected to enter a test operational phase in February.

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