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Researchers Develop Another Potential Battery for Renewable Energy Storage

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Elizabeth M
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Promising advancement
Elizabeth M   8/20/2013 7:54:03 AM
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This is yet another promising advancement in this busy area of research. If there is viable storage then renewables, which already are becoming more widely used and really are the way forward to reduce or even eliminate independence on the traditional electricity grid, can play even a larger role in providing power to millions if not billions of people. I know of a couple of other efforts in this area--the MIT-spawned Ambri comes to mind: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=259497--but does anyone know of any good ones as well to add to the discussion?

Elizabeth M
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Re: Promising advancement
Elizabeth M   8/20/2013 8:15:38 AM
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As another discussion point, here is information on another one of those efforts to create a viable storage battery: http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=255495

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Promising advancement
Ann R. Thryft   8/20/2013 11:32:19 AM
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Here's an interesting article discussing grid-scale batteries and their management (via a specialized OS), equally important as battery design when it comes to optimizing output via load-shifting and other techniques: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/designing-grid-batteries-to-live-long-and-prosper

Elizabeth M
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Re: Promising advancement
Elizabeth M   8/21/2013 6:37:45 AM
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Thanks for that link, Ann. It definitely provides perspective on the concerns about overall management and system maintenance that grid-scale storage requires in quite plain terms. So not only do the batteries themselves have to meet the right price point and storage capacity, along with the usual requirements of energy storage, but they also have to fit well into the overall grid structure.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Promising advancement
Ann R. Thryft   8/21/2013 12:43:36 PM
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I think grid-scale alternative energy management is one of the most interesting--and to judge by some of the comments on this site, least understood--of alternative energy subjects. It's not just about storage, but about deploying what's needed where at the right time, quite a delicate balancing act. The system operators in California and Texas, where there's a lot of solar and wind power on the grid, have been doing this successfully for some time.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Promising advancement
Elizabeth M   9/16/2013 4:31:15 AM
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I think you're right, Ann, I think this area deserves more coverage and exploration. I think there is a good story to be had in how it's been managed in those states and how others might learn from this example. Do you know how if they use storage devices in those states and how they do it? It would be really interesting to delve into more. I've done a few stories now and didn't know they were managing it so well in those regions.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Promising advancement
Ann R. Thryft   9/16/2013 12:59:05 PM
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I'm working on a story on this, Elizabeth. Stay tuned.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Promising advancement
Elizabeth M   9/17/2013 4:17:15 AM
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Great, Ann, I look forward to reading that! I really would like to be more informed about this particular topic and as you pointed out, so do our readers.

Charles Murray
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Re: Promising advancement
Charles Murray   8/20/2013 6:38:47 PM
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High energy density and cheap, easily-available materials are a great combination. For renewable energy storage to work, cost-effectiveness is going to be a must.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Promising advancement
Elizabeth M   8/21/2013 5:57:14 AM
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Yes, Chuck, I think cost is the key. We'll see how these storage efforts pan out--hopefully one of them can hit the affordability sweet spot.

patb2009
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Re: Promising advancement
patb2009   8/21/2013 4:53:51 AM
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"As renewable energy sources like wind and solar become more widely used, the next step is to find a way to make them a viable part of the electricity grid."

 

i would say PV and wind are viable to the grid because they are used on the grid,

the issue is increasing revenue and reducing workload to grid operators.

 

 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Promising advancement
Elizabeth M   8/21/2013 5:47:08 AM
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Thanks for your comment, patb2009. Yes, they are definitely viable; what I meant was that storage will allow them to play a larger role in grid operations than they currently do. I'm not sure what you mean by "increasing revenue and reducing workload"? Can you clarify that point?

patb2009
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Re: Promising advancement
patb2009   8/21/2013 9:28:03 AM
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right now, to meet Grid contracts,  a wind farm bids in Megawatt hours to the grid on the spot market.  

 

According to a buddy of mine the worst thing to ever deliver is the Megawatt-59minute.

he goes, you deliver a lot of power and pay for the privelige of doing so.

so say you have 10 1 megwatt turbines and the wind is really strong and predicted strong, you will likely bid 9 MW-H to the grid, because, you want some reserves.

if the wind is weak and variable you may bid 3 or even 2 MW-H, hoping that part of your array will be catching wind.

 

so adding some decent battery say 15 minutes of drop out protection, means that

in scenario 1 you may bid 10 MW-H and in scenario 2 you may bid 5 MW-H,

that's what i mean by increasing revenue.

 

as to reducing workload, when you blow your supply contract the Grid operators

may start up a bunch of gas turbines fast to deal with a frequency problem or voltage sag or start importing power, and that's workload to the grid managers.

if wind farms become rock solid producers, they reduce work to the grid managers

etmax
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Re: Promising advancement
etmax   9/12/2013 10:57:43 AM
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The biggest problem is the fluctuations, with renewables more than 20% a large cloud could make such a dent in the power provided the grid that a few turbines would have to spun up and then down as thcloud passes, the only problem is that large turbines take perhaps a minute to go from 0-100% (someone please feel free to add a real number here, this one's out of my hat - gut feeling) where as currently they only need  to go upi or down 10% which is much shorter.

BrainiacV
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Re: Promising advancement
BrainiacV   8/21/2013 3:56:32 PM
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There is another MIT flow battery that uses bromine.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130816094827.htm

All three sound interesting, but I'll guess the ones that don't use molten materials will be preferred.

Charles Murray
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Re: Promising advancement
Charles Murray   8/21/2013 6:30:51 PM
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Yes, Ambri is another. We've mentioned this before...I found it interesting to see Don Sadoway of Ambri on the Colbert Report last year.

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/420372/october-22-2012/donald-sadoway

Elizabeth M
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Re: Promising advancement
Elizabeth M   8/22/2013 10:20:21 AM
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Really, Chuck? That's pretty high profile to be on The Colbert Report.  That is definitely interesting, and quite cool that he would apepar there--shows a bit of progressiveness on the part of Colbert and some savvy marketing on the part of Sadoway. I haven't checked on their progress in awhile so I wonder how much traction Ambri is gaining--possibly quite a bit.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Promising advancement
Cabe Atwell   8/27/2013 2:41:56 PM
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Hopefully they will have it adopted for use over a wide range of applications such as the efficient energy storage of renewable resources and providing more than 2 hours of power for my laptop.

etmax
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Re: Promising advancement
etmax   9/12/2013 10:51:38 AM
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"which already are becoming more widely used and really are the way forward to reduce or even eliminate independence on the traditional electricity grid,"

Small typo above?

Thanks for posting this, It's good to see that electrical storage research is alive and well.

We have a 4kW systems and it just about covers our usage in spring an autumn an definitely in Summer but winter is another story. On a sunny day it's only supply positive for 4-7 in shoulder periods so effective storage would be a real boon.

I can imagine that if we had more than 20% solar or wind that dotty cloud cover or buffeting wind would be a real drama without storage.

I Europe there's talk of using EV's plugged into the grid as a levelling sytem for renewables. The interesting thing here would be that the grid would be reducing the life of the EV battery through extra usage and may have offer storage credit much the same way that feed in tarifs work :-)

patb2009
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Re: Promising advancement
patb2009   9/12/2013 12:22:02 PM
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i'd say the attack may come from small scale and micro grids and DG.

Campuses (Hospitals, universities, governments) are now starting to move hard into

rooftop, parking lot solar) and then cogen off of their HVAC plants, and then buying only when they need frequency support or drop out.

A 5 building municipal complex may make a lot of sense to do their own utilities.

 

 

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