It is certainly correct that hydrocarbon fuels are an easy and efficient way of storing energy. They can wait hundreds of years and yet be ready in an instant, if they are properly captured. Using wind or waves to provide compressed air would work very well and be easy to turn on and use as needed. The big problem is that half the work is turned into heat which then leaks away. But maybe if the energy recovery is cheap enough the convenience of storing the air and using it would make that OK, and perhaps a way to recover the heat energy from the compression would remove the inefficiency from the heat loss.
My big question is if anybody is even looking at this appraoch in a serious manner, and have I overlooked some problem with compressed air energy storage? That is possible, it seems.
The idea that power must be generated consistently and continually only arose once some humans started deciding it needed to be generated centrally and then distributed to users farther away from the source. Even those systems don't deliver power all that continuously, as Jerry points out. And there are lots of heat storage methods that may look wacky--like rocks and bodies of water--but work just fine. I've seen them used quite well in passive solar power systems, Earthships and other alternative systems. Maybe it's time to rethink our models of generation and distribution.
What has made fossil fuels so convenient is that they offer an excellent method for energy storage. Whether it be for vehicles or fixed installations, the real key to sustainability will be in developing a cost effective storage solution.
Jerry, DC power apps used for boats and subs was exactly what I had in mind. Geoff, thanks for that tip about the carbon fuel cell. Perhaps I, or my colleague Elizabeth (who wrote this story we're all commenting on) can follow that up.
Hi Ann, like your articles, - thought you may also be interested in this one, developed by Michael Antal at Hawaii Uni, - it is not technically speaking a green battery, as it is a fuel cell but uses carbon to generate electricity directly, - called an aqueous alkali biocarbon fuel cell, - my source is old, http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Feb/26/ln/FP602260346.html
But developments may have since occurred that would lead to an interesting article for you.
NASA ALONG WITH ALL THE BANKS OF THE WORLD WANT TO CREATE A HYPE WE ARE IN GLOBAL WARMING DUE TO GREENHOUSE GAS'S BUT AS YOU MENTIONED ITS NOT FROM US BUT FROM PLANETARY MOVEMENT. Why has MAR'S warmed up? Jupiter-Saturn, please tell me our cars are to blame. MAR'S ICE CAP is gone yet a few short yrs ago it was existant! We know the culprit w.infiniteunknown.net/2010/03/14/nasa-scientists-search-for-nemesis-nibiru-planet-x-an-invisible-death-star-that-circles-the-sun/comment-page-1/#comment-235032 hah! this is the reason!
The reason that utilities presently don't do a lot of energy storage is because they adjust the instantanious generating capacity based on history, more than on measured loads. So the generation may be less efficient because more power is being generated than is being used. So they are running with more than they would actually need so as to be ready when the demand comes. Storage would indeed be handy, and I have pointed out that storing wind power as igh pressure compressed gas is one well understood way to do it. The difficulty comes with scale. It is hard to store ten million cubic feet of compressed air at 15,000 PSI. But it would probably be cheaper than the best storage battery because it would not wear out, which is quite an advantage. In addition, an air leak would not cause much pollution, nor need a massive cleanup. But air storage is neither simple nor cheap.
Cabe, if that was true then how does the grid deal with sporatic demand which is far more variable than RE supply ever is?
This another strawman argument that has no basis in real life. If it was then why hasn't utilities done it al;ready since there is multiple storage means already available at nder $100kwhr that last decades?
And just how variable do you think RE is? Only when concentrated in a small area and few of them is there any problem at all. Once there are many spread out they average out nicely at rates a small fraction of demand variability.
Solar CSP, biomass, hydro, tidal, river are steady or on demand. Really only concentrated wind is variable but even there it takes minutes to change, not seconds.
Why don't you mention Nuke plants scramming in 1 sec cutting a whole GW as variable and in fact far worse to deal with? This happens far more often than many know about, 100's of x's/yr.
Again there is NO need for grid storage as they have been handling demand variability for over a century, No?
If you disagree then please tell me why utilities don't already do storage?
Again the solution is most homes, buildings making their own power because it's the low cost way and since very spread out averages out to be very steady, dependable power.
I agree about clearwater and think the moderators should stop him and others that abuse posting with such spam or any numerous, long rants..
Green energy storage has always been the problem. Sporadic generation is not a good way to directly and consistently power anything. Where to put it will be critical. I know they store it by elevating water, weight momentum, battery, and via heat/cold related strategies. Most of which are either expensive or just plain wacky. Glad to see a battery option worth a look.
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