HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
<<  <  Page 5/5
Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Shortage of storage
Rob Spiegel   8/31/2011 10:14:41 AM
NO RATINGS
Nice article, Chuck. You mentioned pumped hydro for storage. Is it possible that could be a solution on a larger scale? Or, are there efficiency problems (perhaps energy loss in the storing and retrieving). Can it be done on a scale that doesn't involve a lake?

3D_Eng
User Rank
Iron
Re: Shortage of storage
3D_Eng   8/31/2011 10:06:30 AM
NO RATINGS
I agree Beth.  Nuclear energy definitely has its safety and environmental concerns but is a primary source of low carbon emission energy. It seems that this would be a good time to start investing again in advancing this technology.  The cost of replacing existing nuclear plants with the same or greater capacity will have a serious impact on the cost of business or on carbon dioxide emissions.  It is going to take a robust and mature technology to reliably replace 14% of the worlds electrical generation.

Energy storage seems to be a limiting factor in many of our alternative energy technologies.  I think an up-and-coming issue for storage is the environmental impact of the storage technologies.  For instance, battery farms comprised of lead-acid batteries may be low cost but present their own environmental concerns and challenges when applied on the required scale.  Energy storage is also an additional cost to renewable energy sources which are currently more expensive per KW than conventional sources.   In the end the whole package needs to meet the energy needs of a country at a cost that is competitive to other generation methods.

I suspect that these and other factors will in time swing the pendulum back towards nuclear energy.

 

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Shortage of storage
Charles Murray   8/31/2011 9:37:22 AM
NO RATINGS
Beth: Right, it's a matter of using the electrical current when it's available to create a potential source of energy that can be used at a later time when the current is unavailable. The problem is electrical current can't be stored. We use it as it's created. When a wind turbine is spinning, we have to use its power immediately. If we depend on it for 40% or 50% of our power and the wind stops blowing, we risk having no power.  

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Shortage of storage
Beth Stackpole   8/31/2011 9:20:45 AM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for clarifying, Chuck. So if I'm following you correctly, it's not necessarily tapping the excess power generated by a wind farm or solar array and storing it somewhere for later use (like we store data in server farms, for example), but rather creating yet another alternative power source or methodology to kick in when those alternative wind and solar power sources aren't live due to lack of wind or sun. Is that what you're saying?

I definitely have mixed feeling on nukes. But having lived within less than 10 miles of a plant my entire life, both in NY and in Massachusetts, why not make R&D investments in improving nuke storage and disaster recovery technology. That way, we turn aging infrastructure into state-of-the-art operations centers that can go the distance for the energy demands of the next few decades.

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Shortage of storage
Charles Murray   8/31/2011 9:08:01 AM
NO RATINGS
Beth: Pumped hydro, which has been around for decades, is the leading way to store energy right now. When power is available, they pump water up a hill and store it in a lake or some other body of water. When power is unavailable (i.e., the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining), they use gravity to let the water run back down. As it runs down, it spins a turbine that's used to create electricity. There are other methods used today, such as compressed air energy storage (CAES), which is gaining some momentum. Those methods are probably unlikely to replace the loss of nuclear plants, however, because of "siting" issues. Most areas either don't have the geography or the willingness to use them. More recently, battery farms have started to gain favor. But we would need incredible numbers of batteries and battery facilities to make that happen. Another method is "vehicle-to-grid," which is a proposed idea in which electric cars would send their battery charge back to the grid. The bottom line is this: Electrical power is used at the moment it's created; if we have large percentages of intermittent power, such as wind and solar, we'll have to learn how to store it.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Shortage of storage
Beth Stackpole   8/31/2011 8:18:14 AM
NO RATINGS
Very informative, Chuck, and timely. Count me as one of the avid readers of all of those pieces that talk about the alternatives with "nary a mention" of storage, as you point out. So what constitutes storage for alternative wind and solar energy--Is it containers, is it smart grid technology (whatever that constitutes)? What exactly are we talking here? Are there any early leader technologies that are likely to steer the way?

<<  <  Page 5/5


Partner Zone
Latest Analysis
Here's a variety of views into the complex production processes at Santa's factory. Happy Holidays!
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
Thanks to 3D printing, some custom-made prosthetic limbs, and a Lego set, one lucky dog and a tortoise has learned new tricks.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
With Radio Shack on the ropes, let's take a memory trip through the highlights of Radio Shack products.
More:Blogs|News
Design News Webinar Series
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/10/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  67


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service