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Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-08, 11:39 PM
Hi, this is my first thread, inspired strangely enough by discussing energy storage on the moon.


Wind power is pretty cheap. In general it appears to be cheaper than nuclear power and if it continues to drop in price it could become as cheap as coal power without the massive environmental drawbacks that come with coal. One problem is that it is intermittent. Now the average electricity grid can handle a decent amount of wind power without a problem. A grid can get perhaps 20% of its power from wind before dealing with its intermittency becomes difficult. Suggestions have been made for getting around this problem, building wind farms in widely separated areas, teaming it with solar power and so on. One solution is to store excess energy for later use when it is needed. I have a perhaps silly idea for energy storage, which Iím sure other people have had before me but perhaps rejected on account of being smarter than I.

Wind generators are mounted on top of tall pylons. These pylons are built very strong to resist gales and storms. During periods of excess energy production it might be possible to winch a heavy weight up to the top of the pylon and then in periods of low wind use its potential energy to turn the windturbine. A ten ton weight winched up to 50m could store energy that could potentially generate up to 450 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which might be an hour's worth of average power from a wind turbine. The weights would have to be lowered during storms for safety reasons.

We already use this type of energy storage system when hydroelectric systems pump water back up to a higher level, which is cheaper to do than building a system to lug weights up to the top of a windmill. However, it just may be possible that this system might be practical for an isolated wind power system that isn't connected to the grid. Perhaps one powering a remote village, farm or mining operation.

So, do you think there is any merit to this idea or is it likely to be too impractical?

WaxRubiks
2006-Oct-08, 11:49 PM
I think that it would place too much stress on the tower.
They would also limited as to how much energy they can store.

My idea, that I put on a thread months ago, is to have stations that electrolyze water(to produce hydrogen gas)in times of excess wind generated electricity and then when there is no wind the hydrogen can be burned to drive turbines. In this way the only limit to the amount of energy that can be stored is the capacity of the hydrogen tanks.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-09, 12:04 AM
I think that it would place too much stress on the tower.
They would also limited as to how much energy they can store.

My idea, that I put on a thread months ago, is to have stations that electrolyze water(to produce hydrogen gas)in times of excess wind generated electricity and then when there is no wind the hydrogen can be burned to drive turbines. In this way the only limit to the amount of energy that can be stored is the capacity of the hydrogen tanks.

Good points, however it is simpler than creating and burning hydrogen and much more energy efficent as as you lose a lot of energy splitting water which might be 60% efficient and buring hydrogen in a generator will generally at best be 45% efficent, so you will only get back about 27% or less of the energy you put into it, while storing energy in a suspended weight could return perhaps 80% of the energy put into it. The high volume of hydrogen and its small molecular size also makes it difficult to store.

Jeff Root
2006-Oct-09, 03:29 AM
Hey! This is the best kook idea I've ever read. (The fact that it
was proposed on the Internet is the only thing making it a "kook"
idea :D) I suspect the idea has been around for a while, but in
any case it sounds definitely worth exploring further.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Trebuchet
2006-Oct-09, 04:06 AM
If you winch a weight up, you can certainly recover energy from it. Imagine what I'm about to recover from this one....

Seriously, while storage is a good (but not new) idea, I'm not sure lifting a weight is the best way to go about it. Most wind generators are not all that big, they just use a lot of them. Might be interesting to experiment with it though.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-09, 04:46 AM
Seriously, while storage is a good (but not new) idea, I'm not sure lifting a weight is the best way to go about it. Most wind generators are not all that big, they just use a lot of them. Might be interesting to experiment with it though.

Well, a lot of wind turbines today are being mounted on pylons over 85m in height and have rotor diameters of over 70m so that's sort of big. However, I've never heard of gravitational potential energy being stored with anything except water, which makes me think that my idea may not be practical, but since it uses the windturbine's generator and a pylon that has to be built strong enough to resist storms anyway, just maybe it will be cheap enough to be practical.

paulie jay
2006-Oct-09, 05:37 AM
I think that it would place too much stress on the tower.
They would also limited as to how much energy they can store.

My idea, that I put on a thread months ago, is to have stations that electrolyze water(to produce hydrogen gas)in times of excess wind generated electricity and then when there is no wind the hydrogen can be burned to drive turbines. In this way the only limit to the amount of energy that can be stored is the capacity of the hydrogen tanks.

Just wondering (because I didn't see the other thread) how you would source the energy to burn the hydrogen when the wind doesn't blow (nuclear, coal burning?), and if you would end up with a bigger usage of energy to produce the electricity?

WaxRubiks
2006-Oct-09, 01:58 PM
Just wondering (because I didn't see the other thread) how you would source the energy to burn the hydrogen when the wind doesn't blow (nuclear, coal burning?), and if you would end up with a bigger usage of energy to produce the electricity?


I don't understand.





The wind generated electricity would be fed into the national grid where hydrogen generators would be situated to generate and compress( to liquid)hydrogen. It would then be burnt conventionally to driver dynamos to generate electricity at low wind times.

jrkeller
2006-Oct-09, 02:46 PM
Well, a lot of wind turbines today are being mounted on pylons over 85m in height and have rotor diameters of over 70m so that's sort of big. However, I've never heard of gravitational potential energy being stored with anything except water, which makes me think that my idea may not be practical, but since it uses the windturbine's generator and a pylon that has to be built strong enough to resist storms anyway, just maybe it will be cheap enough to be practical.

The storage idea is nothing really new. In fact I did a study/report for NASA about three years ago on this very topic (with other ideas as well). A better method is the use of flywheel energy storage.


While you are correct in stating that wind power does not have the "massive environmental drawbacks that come with coal," wind power does require a lot of land use and that creates it own environmental problems.

WaxRubiks
2006-Oct-09, 02:48 PM
While you are correct in stating that wind power does not have the "massive environmental drawbacks that come with coal," wind power does require a lot of land use and that creates it own environmental problems.


I think roads use more land.

Demigrog
2006-Oct-09, 03:22 PM
Well, a lot of wind turbines today are being mounted on pylons over 85m in height and have rotor diameters of over 70m so that's sort of big. However, I've never heard of gravitational potential energy being stored with anything except water, which makes me think that my idea may not be practical, but since it uses the windturbine's generator and a pylon that has to be built strong enough to resist storms anyway, just maybe it will be cheap enough to be practical.

The tower is actually one of the most expensive parts of a wind turbine; much of the innovation that has made modern wind turbines economical has been in reducing the weight and cost of the tower itself. Making it strong enough to support a heavy weight would likely make the whole thing too expensive to be viable.

Somewhat ironically, some larger turbines do have a weight on a cable--for the service elevator. :)

galacsi
2006-Oct-09, 03:23 PM
Good points, however it is simpler than creating and burning hydrogen and much more energy efficent as as you lose a lot of energy splitting water which might be 60% efficient and buring hydrogen in a generator will generally at best be 45% efficent, so you will only get back about 27% or less of the energy you put into it, while storing energy in a suspended weight could return perhaps 80% of the energy put into it. The high volume of hydrogen and its small molecular size also makes it difficult to store.

Yes reading Frog March answer i had the same reaction about efficiency of electrolizing water. Your idea sound great , it can be improved IMO : Why not builds pecific tower or device to store wind energy from more than one wind turbine , for an entire farm of turbine in fact. Cost are mutualized with this solution and you can build simple tower optimized for storing energy and you not impact the wind tower.

Demigrog
2006-Oct-09, 03:37 PM
Yes reading Frog March answer i had the same reaction about efficiency of electrolizing water. Your idea sound great , it can be improved IMO : Why not builds pecific tower or device to store wind energy from more than one wind turbine , for an entire farm of turbine in fact. Cost are mutualized with this solution and you can build simple tower optimized for storing energy and you not impact the wind tower.

That sounds much more do-able; in fact, if you make use of local terrain (ie the mountain that the turbines are on in some regions) you could probably do it pretty cheaply. I'll bet there is already a patent...

galacsi
2006-Oct-09, 03:39 PM
Ronald your scheme is stimulating : i have an other idea : the tower has not to be a tower but can be a well ! Energy is stored underground !

instead of a ten tons weight hanging on the mast of poor wind turbine , imagine 2 X 100 tons weights sliding up and down in their well like an elevator. When one is up it is ready to product energy for the grid . When the other is down it is ready to be lifted again and store energy from the wind farm. So you dont connect directly the wind turbines to the grid , you connect your mechanical storage device. And the landscape is not impaired att all .

Next step put the wind mill underground also !!!!!
Hum excess of enthousiasm maybe !

Demigrog
2006-Oct-09, 03:44 PM
Heh, actually, if we optimize the system completely I think we wind up with a hydroelectric pumped-storage system like we already have all over the country.

WaxRubiks
2006-Oct-09, 03:47 PM
instead of a ten tons weight hanging on the mast of poor wind turbine , imagine 2 X 100 tons weights sliding up and down in their well like an elevator. When one is up it is ready to product energy for the grid . When the other is down it is ready to be lifted again and store energy from the wind farm. So you dont connect directly the wind turbines to the grid , you connect your mechanical storage device. And the landscape is not impaired att all .


well that would be easier for turbines at sea, there would be no need to dig the hole.

jrkeller
2006-Oct-09, 05:35 PM
I think roads use more land.

Well yes and no. The footprint of a wid turbine is small, but you have to clear a lot of land for it to be viable. ie no trees or obstructions. Once you put a wind turbine farm in, the land can not be used for much, except open range cattle.

The other problem with wind power is that mountains are one area that works really well. In Texas the best places (http://www.seco.cpa.state.tx.us/Maps/re_maps-wind-tx.htm), are two mountainous national parks and several mountainous state parks. The panhandle (northwest part) is pretty good too, but again some of that land (but not a whole lot) is either federal or state lands.

TrAI
2006-Oct-09, 10:07 PM
Of course people have seen the use of weights as energy storage before, it was quite popular in clocks, you know. I never did see a clock with flywheel energy storage though, perhaps it was not as practical to store that much energy in a wheel that fitted inside the clock.

The problem with them not taking anymore energy when fully raised is compairable to a saturated flywheel. A drained well and a stopped wheel is similar. You would need to make a big silo of some kind for the weight and safely deccelerate it at the bottom, while wheels need you to use strong materials and build what amounts to a bunker in case the wheel were to fragment.

The question is, could one make well energy store systems, that was either cheaper per unit of energy or that could store more energy than is practical with a wheel.

Underground silos with the weights might be a better solution than using the towers themselves, though. You probably would build wheel storage underground too.

PhantomWolf
2006-Oct-09, 10:23 PM
Wind Turbines are terrible things, just ask David Bellhamy.

jrkeller
2006-Oct-09, 10:52 PM
Wind Turbines are terrible things, just ask David Bellhamy.

Do you mean David Bellamy?


My point is this: To power an industrialized country like the US or the UK by wind turbines you need to use a lot of land which basically turns that land into land that can't be used for much else. That will create new environmental problems. Though I doubt that it will be as bad as coal or any other fossil fuel, but it still is a problem.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-09, 10:57 PM
Well jrkeller has pointed out that flywheels are a better way to store energy. I thought my low tech suggestion might be a little cheaper, but obviously this idea has already been looked into.

As for wind power needing a lot of land, this doesn't seem to be the case. In Europe they don't seem to have a problem using the land under them for crops and the structures themselves only take up 1% of the land. In addition windturbines can be put out at sea, taking up no land at all.

In fact, windturbines generating the same average power as a nuclear plant can take up less actual groundspace than a nuclear plant.

paulie jay
2006-Oct-10, 06:11 AM
I don't understand.

The wind generated electricity would be fed into the national grid where hydrogen generators would be situated to generate and compress( to liquid)hydrogen. It would then be burnt conventionally to driver dynamos to generate electricity at low wind times.

my bold

Sorry, I realise I didn't ask my question very clearly. What I'm asking is by what method will you be burning the hydrogen? I don't know much about burning hydrogen (aside from lighting a match), so I don't know what the "conventional" means are. :)
Does the burning of hydrogen rely on a source of electricity, for instance?
If so, how is that electricity sourced?
And does the energy that is spent compressing then burning the hydrogen result in a greater rise in entropy than if the same amount of electricity was produced by, say, nuclear power?

I don't mean for my questions to sound like an interrogation - I'm actually very interested and just ask in order to learn more.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-10, 06:37 AM
Well I'll jump in and mention that you can burn hydrogen to produce electricity in the same way that natural gas can be burnt to produce electricity, the only real difference being that hydrogen has more volume per unit of energy so more cubic meters of gas will have to be burnt to generate the same amount of electricity. I imagine this is what's meant by "conventional."

As for the rise in entropy part, since gas generators are in general more efficent than nuclear reactors at turning heat into electricity, I imagine nuclear power would cause a greater increase in entropy. But I don't think that looking at entropy is all that helpful when talking about power generation. Generally costs and environmental effects are what people look at.

jrkeller
2006-Oct-10, 02:07 PM
The other good thing about hydrogen power is that it does not produce C02.

jrkeller
2006-Oct-10, 02:09 PM
I just visited these (http://www.mackinawcity.org/wtg.htm) about a month ago.

antoniseb
2006-Oct-10, 02:47 PM
The other good thing about hydrogen power is that it does not produce C02.
If you take CO2 from the atmosphere and Water from some handy source, you can make Methanol as fuel without impacting the net Carbon in the atmosphere. This is really only usable as a means to store power generated some other way, but it is denser than Hydrogen, and just as green.

swansont
2006-Oct-10, 03:15 PM
A ten ton weight winched up to 50m could store energy that could potentially generate up to 450 kilowatt-hours of electricity, which might be an hour's worth of average power from a wind turbine. The weights would have to be lowered during storms for safety reasons.

We already use this type of energy storage system when hydroelectric systems pump water back up to a higher level, which is cheaper to do than building a system to lug weights up to the top of a windmill. However, it just may be possible that this system might be practical for an isolated wind power system that isn't connected to the grid. Perhaps one powering a remote village, farm or mining operation.

So, do you think there is any merit to this idea or is it likely to be too impractical?

10 tons (10,000 kg) raised 50m is 4.9 x 10^6 J

A kW-hr is 10^3 J/s x 3600s = 3.6 x 10^6 J

It looks like you are underestimating the mass you need to lift (or the height) by a few orders of magnitude.

Water works for this purpose because you can move smaller amounts at a time, raise it higher, and store it in a more stable environment.

eburacum45
2006-Oct-10, 06:42 PM
I am intrigued by the flywheel concept as a form of energy storage, jrkeller. Would it be possible for you to give us some information about the efficiency of this method? It may be the case that each wind turbine could be surrounded by flywheel storage systems without much extra impact on the local environment.

galacsi
2006-Oct-10, 07:29 PM
10 tons (10,000 kg) raised 50m is 4.9 x 10^6 J

A kW-hr is 10^3 J/s x 3600s = 3.6 x 10^6 J

It looks like you are underestimating the mass you need to lift (or the height) by a few orders of magnitude.

Water works for this purpose because you can move smaller amounts at a time, raise it higher, and store it in a more stable environment.
Very well done . I had an afterthought adn did the same computation but you beat me posting it .
End of the show :o :boohoo:

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-11, 12:32 AM
10 tons (10,000 kg) raised 50m is 4.9 x 10^6 J

A kW-hr is 10^3 J/s x 3600s = 3.6 x 10^6 J

It looks like you are underestimating the mass you need to lift (or the height) by a few orders of magnitude.

Water works for this purpose because you can move smaller amounts at a time, raise it higher, and store it in a more stable environment.

Well that explains why flywheels are superior. Time for me to go back to maths class I think. Thanks for pointing this out swansont. I think I've just learned not to post anything without quadruple checking the maths and doing some thought experiments to ensure I'm not orders of magnitude off, you know, like, "If this is true, is it physically possible for me to lift a bottle of softdrink above my head?"

I feel so silly. Situation normal.

Sorry everyone. I appolgize for my incompotance.

jaydeehess
2006-Oct-11, 05:05 AM
The radar installation I worked on had a RUPU -Rotary Uninterruptible Power Unit.

Basically is was a large AC motor that turned a shaft on which was mounted a very heavy flywheel and an alternator. If grid AC went down the flywheel kept the shaft turning which made sure that the AC generated by the alternator stayed on while a deisel engine started up and relays engaged once it was up to speed taking up the task of supplying power to the AC motor turning the shaft. Grid connection was disconnected at this time until normal power had been restored and remained available for 10 minutes at which time the relays de-energized and grid power was restored to the motor.

Despite the large power demand of this vacuum tube radar with the typical large rotating sail, this RUPU saw barely a dip in voltage or frequency during power transfers due to the energy stored in that flywheel.

But man was this a noisy building!!!!!!!!!!!!

SAMU
2006-Oct-11, 06:15 AM
The current thinking on the storage of intermitant energy sources is not to directly store the energy but to store the value of the energy.

In effect; if I have solar electric cells producing more energy during peek production than I consume at that time then that excess is sent out to the electric grid and is sold to consumers who consume more energy than they produce such as industrial consumers etc. The money earned from my excess production is used to offset the cost of what I consume from the grid when I am producing less energy than I consume and I tap into the grid that is producing energy from other sources. My energy bill is reduced by the free energy that I produce and consume and is further reduced by "refunding" the value of the excess amount I produce that is sold. If in total I produce more energy than I consume then I get a payment from the power company.

There are as yet very few power grids set up to accept consumer produced power and fewer still that are inclined to reduce the rate consumer/producers pay for electricity or pay consumers to produce power. The tecnology and equipment to do this is neither complex nor expensive. The economics of it is where the hangup is. The big energy sellers don't want new sellers (us) to have access to the buyers (also us). They understand that it will reduce their profits. It won't necesarilly but depending on the setup it can and probably ultimately will.

The current thinking is that it will take compulsion of law to make power companies do it. When and if that happens then you will see the explosion of small investors purchasing the alternative production equipment compliant with their area as alternative production equipment takes a smaller investment to begin returning profits. The profits won't be as high as the current profitability of energy sellers as there will be less possibility for there to be artificialy inflated prices by the artificial repression of supplies as is done now.

paulie jay
2006-Oct-11, 07:30 AM
Well I'll jump in and mention that you can burn hydrogen to produce electricity in the same way that natural gas can be burnt to produce electricity, the only real difference being that hydrogen has more volume per unit of energy so more cubic meters of gas will have to be burnt to generate the same amount of electricity. I imagine this is what's meant by "conventional."

As for the rise in entropy part, since gas generators are in general more efficent than nuclear reactors at turning heat into electricity, I imagine nuclear power would cause a greater increase in entropy. But I don't think that looking at entropy is all that helpful when talking about power generation. Generally costs and environmental effects are what people look at.
True. I suppose I see a greater rise in entropy as an environmental factor big-picture-wise.
Thanks for that, Ronald. :)

farmerjumperdon
2006-Oct-12, 03:15 PM
How about a variant on lifting weights, like storing the energy in wound up springs? Or huge pressure tanks?

Our well uses a pressure tank with a bladder to reduce the occurences of the pump switching on. Theoretically, if we had a big enough tank, the well pump might only run a few times each week.

Couldn't a turbine system be made to charge a pressure tank once the battery bank and immediate needs are satisfied?

Maybe stored hydraulics pressure?

The spring thing would seem very efficient though (from a non-expert point of view). You have a huge underground spring. An automated clutch of some sort senses that energy is available for storage and engages the spring winding apparatus. If there is no wind and the batteries are running low, the spring is allowed to unwind, spinning the turbine.

This to me seems ideal because there are very few days when there is absolutely no air movement. A slowly unwinding spring would combine with the gentlest of air movements to take advantage of everything available. And a well sealed high quality underground steel spring (or maybe some exotic material) should be maintenance free for a very long time.

mugaliens
2006-Oct-12, 08:26 PM
The storage idea is nothing really new. In fact I did a study/report for NASA about three years ago on this very topic (with other ideas as well). A better method is the use of flywheel energy storage.


While you are correct in stating that wind power does not have the "massive environmental drawbacks that come with coal," wind power does require a lot of land use and that creates it own environmental problems.

jrkeller, you are absolutely correct: Flywheel energy storage is currently far more efficient that hydrogen chemistry storage.

Demigrog
2006-Oct-13, 04:28 PM
How about a variant on lifting weights, like storing the energy in wound up springs? Or huge pressure tanks?

Our well uses a pressure tank with a bladder to reduce the occurences of the pump switching on. Theoretically, if we had a big enough tank, the well pump might only run a few times each week.

Couldn't a turbine system be made to charge a pressure tank once the battery bank and immediate needs are satisfied?

Maybe stored hydraulics pressure?

We do that-- compressed air energy storage. (http://www.eere.energy.gov/de/compressed_air.html) :)

WaxRubiks
2006-Oct-13, 05:01 PM
jrkeller, you are absolutely correct: Flywheel energy storage is currently far more efficient that hydrogen chemistry storage.

maybe, but it is limited as to howmuch energy can be stored.

mugaliens
2006-Oct-13, 10:58 PM
If the entire planet were riddled with wind turbines, it would, at best, provide for less than 30% of our world's energy requirements, and would, uncontrovertably (as stated by several alternate environmental weather pattern enthusiasts), at best, only partially relieve our country of it's dependance on non-renewable sources of energy.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-14, 01:23 AM
If the entire planet were riddled with wind turbines, it would, at best, provide for less than 30% of our world's energy requirements, and would, uncontrovertably (as stated by several alternate environmental weather pattern enthusiasts), at best, only partially relieve our country of it's dependance on non-renewable sources of energy.

That sounds a bit odd. If the planet was riddled with wind turbines it could supply all the power currently used by humanity today, although there would be intermittancy problems. This is especially true when you consider that there are plans to exploit high altitude winds using either kites with wind turbines attached or kites attached to the ends of arms on an enormous turbine on the ground.

It is definitely possible for wind to supply all our energy needs, but it is extremely unlikely that such a situation will come about as it would probably be extremely expensive. Currently it is difficult for wind to supply more than 20% of a grid's power as expensive steps have to be taken to deal with its intermittency.

mugaliens
2006-Oct-14, 11:57 AM
The wind generated electricity would be fed into the national grid where hydrogen generators would be situated to generate and compress( to liquid)hydrogen. It would then be burnt conventionally to driver dynamos to generate electricity at low wind times.

This process is extremely inefficient.

When you combine wind, hydroelectric, solar, geothermal, and tidal sources, assuming all have been maximized for the entire United States, it still amounts to less than 35% of our current nation's requirements.

Oil will be exhausted, worldwide, sometime between 2040 and 2050, and we'll begin to feel the pangs of that a full decades before that.

Coal might last us until the end of this century, possibly into the next one, but not if it becomes the primary source.

Natural gas is GONE before 2020. That's less than fourteen years from now. I wouldn't buy a natural gas stove or furnace anytime soon, if I were you.

Nuclear can supply 100% of our needs for the next three hundred years, certainly long enough for us to perfect fusion (which will last us about 50 million years), but the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's idiots and their lawyers have made it ridiculously expensive, at least in the US, and have de-educated entire generations over the years with respect to nuclear's stellar safety record (better than any other form of energy known to man!).

Westinghouse has designed newer reactors which employ passive safety systems which, by design, automatically render the reactor safe if things were to go awry. In short, even with direct human intervention to the contrary, these new reactors cannot be made, forced, coerced, etc. to generate another three mile island, much less a Chernobyl. They're just not build to allow for any catastrophe, and left totally on their own, without any human or system/electronic intervention, they simply stagnate, die down, quiet down, whatever you want to call it.

Most notably, in recent years, a sizeable and notable number of individuals from the Green (greenpeace, etc.) community have begun supporting nuclear because of it's incredibly smaller footprint on the enviroment than any other form of energy, including WIND power (which kills birds by the thousands and has already been suspected of altering weather/climate patterns, despite it's currently slight employment).

In short, there is absolutely no way humans on this planet can survive without nuclear energy. It's way beyond the time of dodging reality, and it's far past the time where we, as a world, need to embrace new, and safe technologies, and make the move towards a nuclear/hydrogen energy economy.

Any other approach is ill-informed, wishful thinking, ignorant, rejecting of scientific fact... I don't know how I can make the arguement any stronger! The facts speak for themselves, but instead of listening to the facts, people continue to invest in pipe dreams!

Nuclear. Hydrogen.

Whether you believe or not, it's all we'll have beyond 2050. The process can be relatively painless, if you and the world's governments act now, or it can be horrific (massive death many times greater than all deaths due to all wars due mainly to starvation) if you/they ignore reality.

It's not your choice. It's our choice. Let's make it the right one, and stop fooling ourselves into thinking wind or other pipe dreams will solve our problems.

Nuclear is the ONLY way to survive, folks. It's not opinion. It's scientific fact.

mugaliens
2006-Oct-14, 12:07 PM
maybe, but it is limited as to howmuch energy can be stored.

Actually, there are no limitations, provided there's enough material for frictionless bearings (electromagnetic) and mass (stone).

There's a lot of stone lying around...

WaxRubiks
2006-Oct-14, 01:41 PM
but the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's idiots and their lawyers have made it ridiculously expensive,
Idiots?, perhaps if the people that ran the nuclearpowerstations in those decades weren't so sloppy there would have been no need for any opposition.


including WIND power (which kills birds by the thousands and has already been suspected of altering weather/climate patterns, despite it's currently slight employment).
well I suspect that tall buildings effect the "weather/climate pattens" but you don't hear anything about that.
And want to give up your car? Because cars kill millions of birds and other animals.



It's not your choice. It's our choice. Let's make it the right one, and stop fooling ourselves into thinking wind or other pipe dreams will solve our problems.

why is wind energy a piped dream? Because you can't switch it on with a button?

maybe powering some kind of futuristic space station with solar panels is a piped dream..

mugaliens
2006-Oct-14, 07:37 PM
The current thinking is that it will take compulsion of law to make power companies do it.

Actually, that's already happened in most municipalities. I personally know people in Alabama, Colorado, Oregon, New Mexico, Lousiana, Florida, Virginia, Michigan, and California who're selling their power to the grid.

It's only a matter of time before it's incorporated into US Code.

mugaliens
2006-Oct-14, 07:49 PM
Well I'll jump in and mention that you can burn hydrogen to produce electricity in the same way that natural gas can be burnt to produce electricity, the only real difference being that hydrogen has more volume per unit of energy so more cubic meters of gas will have to be burnt to generate the same amount of electricity. I imagine this is what's meant by "conventional."

As for the rise in entropy part, since gas generators are in general more efficent than nuclear reactors at turning heat into electricity, I imagine nuclear power would cause a greater increase in entropy. But I don't think that looking at entropy is all that helpful when talking about power generation. Generally costs and environmental effects are what people look at.


Natural gas is gone (expired, done, depleted, etc.) in 2017.

Oil will be exhausted by 2045, but not without serious, world-changing events by 2020.

Guh!

Get the clue - If we don't do nuclear, and with a corresponding hydrogen economy, our country's done for.

Our world's done for.

Get the clue.

If you wait until 2010, you're WAY too late.

Get a clue! Or die of braindeath... Your choice - your consequences

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-15, 02:09 AM
Natural gas is gone (expired, done, depleted, etc.) in 2017.

Oil will be exhausted by 2045, but not without serious, world-changing events by 2020.

Guh!

Get the clue - If we don't do nuclear, and with a corresponding hydrogen economy, our country's done for.

Our world's done for.

Get the clue.

If you wait until 2010, you're WAY too late.

Get a clue! Or die of braindeath... Your choice - your consequences

I thought about what you wrote for a minute or two and I'm guessing that you think I prefer natural gas over nuclear power because natural gas is more efficent at converting thermal power to electricity than nuclear, but actually I didn't state such a preference, I merely stated a rather dry technical fact that has little bearing on the economics or sustainability of natural gas as a power source.

mugaliens
2006-Oct-15, 03:37 PM
Sorry, the epithet was not directed at you personally. Please accept my apology for failing to make that clear - I really goofed.

It was directed at those who make policy and control energy resource decisions, those who, if they wait, will cause a lot of unnecessary deaths due to disruptions in heating/cooling as well as food distribution.

We can easily survive this, but ONLY if we begin now. If we wait until 2020, it'll be 14 years too late.

cjl
2006-Oct-15, 04:10 PM
Note: a full, closed cycle reaction fission process can actually last us much longer than 300 years (into the thousands). Other than that, I agree with what mugaliens is saying.

Ronald Brak
2006-Oct-16, 03:01 AM
Sorry, the epithet was not directed at you personally. Please accept my apology for failing to make that clear - I really goofed.

No problem. But I wouldn't worry so much. Here we get pretty much 0% of our electricity from burning oil. We are working our way up to 20% from wind and perhaps 1% from solar and currently get the rest from coal and natural gas. Here there are several decades worth of natural gas left in the ground and currently there isn't the infrastructure to burn or export it in a great hurry. However it is possible that it may become too expensive to use for electricity and we'll have to rely upon flywheels, flow batteries, coal cogeneration and so on instead. Peak oil causes a problem for transportation is a problem, but not an insumountable one. The government isn't much help as they seem to think that the way to deal with high oil prices is to pay for cars to be converted to run on natural gas which is filling one hole by digging another. Since natural gas substitutes for oil any increase in oil prices will cause increases in natural gas prices. Oh well.

mugaliens
2006-Oct-16, 04:35 PM
I'm all for alternative forms of energy. There are many places in the US where solar shingles are actually a good investment. Sadly, in some of those municipalities one can't sell electricity back to the grid, which robs a lot of the incentive.

MAPNUT
2006-Oct-20, 05:07 PM
This discussion veered from energy storage to energy sources, but Demigrog had a good comment which adds perspective to the storage problem:


Heh, actually, if we optimize the system completely I think we wind up with a hydroelectric pumped-storage system like we already have all over the country.

DG is right that hydroelectric pumped storage is the only large-scale storage system we have, though I would quibble that it's not "all over the country". Utilities would love to build more pumped-storage plants. They function using the power generated by big base-load plants to pump water uphill at night, and release it to generate at peak demand periods. The process is in the range of 70% to 80% efficient. But I think there are only a few dozen of these plants in the U.S., averaging around 1000 MW. The reason there aren't more is that there aren't enough economical sites. You need a mountain on which you can build a reservoir without ridiculous amounts of excavation and fill, and also a nearby lower reservoir site which holds the water so it's available to be pumped up again. All this construction has to be done for less than the value of the difference between peak and off-peak power. That's the reason there aren't more pumped-storage plants.

By the way, that's an aspect of nuclear power that needs work - nuclear plants are not easy to turn on and off to match generation to load.

Regarding some of the ideas mentioned above, the cost of building a tower or an underground shaft, to store water or any other kind of weight, is likely to be more than the cost of building a new conventional power plant. Since wind power is still fairly expensive to generate, the storage method will have to be cheap to help make wind more viable. Hopefully some breakthrough method in the nature of batteries will come along. It would be great to get off a highway in your electric car and instead of finding a string of gas stations and fast food, find a string of windmills where you can pick up a 400-mile recharge, even if the wind hasn't blown for 3 days.

There actually was a study in the 1980s of an underground pumped-storage plant in New Jersey, using existing deep mines as the lower reservoir. But of course you still had to build an upper reservoir. Turned out it wasn't econmical.

mugaliens
2006-Oct-20, 05:35 PM
Hopefully some breakthrough method in the nature of batteries will come along. It would be great to get off a highway in your electric car and instead of finding a string of gas stations and fast food, find a string of windmills where you can pick up a 400-mile recharge, even if the wind hasn't blown for 3 days.

Walla! Here's your breakthrough: The LEES Ultracapacitor (http://www.fuelcellsworks.com/Supppage4503.html)

However, while it promises to be a great replacement for conventional, in the sizes needed for 1000 MW storage, it'd be ridiculously expensive.

Demigrog
2006-Oct-20, 05:41 PM
But I think there are only a few dozen of these plants in the U.S., averaging around 1000 MW.

I can name a dozen just within an afternoon drive of where I live, though it could be a semantics issue; many hydro plants are a hybrid of pumped storage and natural water flow (Smith Mountain Lake, VA near me). There are a lot fewer purely pumped storage sites (the one in Bath County, VA near me, for example).

danscope
2006-Oct-26, 02:40 AM
Ronald your scheme is stimulating : i have an other idea : the tower has not to be a tower but can be a well ! Energy is stored underground !

instead of a ten tons weight hanging on the mast of poor wind turbine , imagine 2 X 100 tons weights sliding up and down in their well like an elevator. When one is up it is ready to product energy for the grid . When the other is down it is ready to be lifted again and store energy from the wind farm. So you dont connect directly the wind turbines to the grid , you connect your mechanical storage device. And the landscape is not impaired att all .

Next step put the wind mill underground also !!!!!
Hum excess of enthousiasm maybe !

Hi, your idea of using a well isn't far off the mark. However, think of using a wind mill to make high pressure compressed air. The secret is using a drill hole in solid granite .....6 inch... and lining it with a membrane. You need to undercut the rock maybe 15 feet from the top , and set the stainless steel stopper. Now, you have created an extraordinary high pressure airflask which will endure without corrosion. Charged with 1500 pound air, and with a
volume of 1200 feet , you would have a better than an 800 gallon high pressure airflask. Compressed air is a wondefull energy resource and storage mechanism. Make as much as you want....when you can , and generate the electricity you require...on demand. Money in the bank. And there is no shortage of places to drill within the viscinity of good wind sites.
Just a thought. Best regards, Dan

danscope
2006-Nov-07, 05:59 AM
Hi, your idea of using a well isn't far off the mark. However, think of using a wind mill to make high pressure compressed air. The secret is using a drill hole in solid granite .....6 inch... and lining it with a membrane. You need to undercut the rock maybe 15 feet from the top , and set the stainless steel stopper. Now, you have created an extraordinary high pressure airflask which will endure without corrosion. Charged with 1500 pound air, and with a
volume of 1200 feet , you would have a better than an 800 gallon high pressure airflask. Compressed air is a wondefull energy resource and storage mechanism. Make as much as you want....when you can , and generate the electricity you require...on demand. Money in the bank. And there is no shortage of places to drill within the viscinity of good wind sites.
Just a thought. Best regards, Dan

Hi, I should think that there would be some interest in perhaps one of the best and most novel storage mediums to dovetail with windpower since the grinding of corn.
Any response will be interesting.
Best regards, Dan

MAPNUT
2006-Nov-07, 01:57 PM
I'm afraid you'll find that the cost of excavating in solid rock is way too high. Any really good simple idea that hasn't been tried probably has a reason.

danscope
2006-Nov-07, 03:17 PM
I'm afraid you'll find that the cost of excavating in solid rock is way too high. Any really good simple idea that hasn't been tried probably has a reason.
Hi, The cost of a permanent high pressure air flask which pays for itself and continues to give service is like the cost of getting any other fuel, only it is limited to a one time deal, and the source of energy is inexhaustable!!!!
Forward thinking is the watchword of science and technology.
Remember: when oil was 25 cents a gallon, no body cared.
We live in a brave new world, and many technologies shall be on the table.
Best regards, Dan

Demigrog
2006-Nov-07, 03:43 PM
Hi, The cost of a permanent high pressure air flask which pays for itself and continues to give service is like the cost of getting any other fuel, only it is limited to a one time deal, and the source of energy is inexhaustable!!!!

The efficiency of compressed may be an issue--if you can get 20%, I think you'd be doing pretty good. Cutting the energy production of a wind farm 80% is not going to help the economics, even selling the energy at peak times. :) Efficiency is going to be a function of pressure, which is why using large underground mines at lower pressure may be economical (especially if the mine is already there). Drilled holes would either have to be huge (ie expensive) or used at very high pressures.

danscope
2006-Nov-07, 05:49 PM
The efficiency of compressed may be an issue--if you can get 20%, I think you'd be doing pretty good. Cutting the energy production of a wind farm 80% is not going to help the economics, even selling the energy at peak times. :) Efficiency is going to be a function of pressure, which is why using large underground mines at lower pressure may be economical (especially if the mine is already there). Drilled holes would either have to be huge (ie expensive) or used at very high pressures.

Hi, I did suggest a working pressure of over 1000 to 1500 lbs/sq in. On submarines, we use pressures exceeding this by a factor of 3.
And there are other direct uses. Did you know that there are cars that will run on compressed air? They exist as we speak, and perform as well as electric cars.
Also, compressors operate for far longer than motors before simple maintenance, or major overhaul.
Portadrills bore 6 inch holes every day. Simple technology.
Best regards, Dan

MAPNUT
2006-Nov-07, 06:11 PM
Portadrills bore 6 inch holes every day. Simple technology.
Best regards, Dan

Simple, yes. Your 1200 cubic feet is 6,111 feet of drilling. Price that sometime. And the value of the project is just the difference in price between the energy you use to store the air and the energy you get back.

It pains me to be negative, but engineers study this stuff all the time. The first thing they do is a feasibility study, and the last chapter of the feasibility study is always a benefit/cost analysis. If it comes out more than one, investors will definitely be interested.

Mister Earl
2006-Nov-07, 06:17 PM
I'm a big fan of geothermal energy. Not only do you not have to worry about intermittency, you can also store geothermal energy already harvested quite easily. It was discovered not too long ago, while experimenting with solar energy plants, that instead of heating water which loses thermal energy quickly to use molten salt instead. They even store that molten salt in tanks for use at a later time. I don't have figures for you, such as how long salt holds heat, but from what I can recall it is a great deal longer than water.

A closed loop of molten salt piped under the earth should be cheap enough and effective enough. Just run the salt down far enough to melt it, then close enough to the surface to run it through a heat exchanger containing water. Once you get steam, run it through a turbine, and viola! Hook the turbine up to the pumps for the salt, and put the excess into the grid.

Sounds easy enough in theory, anyway.

#EDIT#

Wiki to the rescue. Here's a section on molten salt batteries.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_battery

#EDIT 2#

Better link
http://www.solarpaces.org/SOLARTRES.HTM
Experimental solar power plant using molten salt to transfer heat energy.

danscope
2006-Nov-07, 09:10 PM
Simple, yes. Your 1200 cubic feet is 6,111 feet of drilling. Price that sometime. And the value of the project is just the difference in price between the energy you use to store the air and the energy you get back.

It pains me to be negative, but engineers study this stuff all the time. The first thing they do is a feasibility study, and the last chapter of the feasibility study is always a benefit/cost analysis. If it comes out more than one, investors will definitely be interested.

But....you can store and extract quite a lot of energy from such a scheme.
And the energy is flexible.
If all the engineering in the world was complete, we should have no work for engineers. There is always something new under the sun.
Best regards, Dan

galacsi
2006-Nov-07, 10:23 PM
I'm afraid you'll find that the cost of excavating in solid rock is way too high. Any really good simple idea that hasn't been tried probably has a reason.

I know energy stockage with compressed air has a long story but on a little scale . I have been told of old buses or tramways of San Francisco which stocked energy by compress ing air in a steel bottle when decelerating .

From Wikipedia : Using a cave or an old mine to pump air inside and use it as a flask have been done in europe but the yield is not good (40%) due to thermodynamic considerations. But some news systems have better efficiency.

danscope
2006-Nov-07, 11:55 PM
I know energy stockage with compressed air has a long story but on a little scale . I have been told of old buses or tramways of San Francisco which stocked energy by compress ing air in a steel bottle when decelerating .

From Wikipedia : Using a cave or an old mine to pump air inside and use it as a flask have been done in europe but the yield is not good (40%) due to thermodynamic considerations. But some news systems have better efficiency.

Hi, The energy in compression could be utilized in heating and hot water,
bumping up the use a little. But the advantage of a high pressure geo-airflask is that it could be located almost anywhere, on site, save volcanic soil.
You need solid rock. But, it's technically possible, and I believe that the efficiencies are much larger than one gentlemen suggested.
Best regards, Dan

galacsi
2006-Nov-08, 08:38 AM
Hi, The energy in compression could be utilized in heating and hot water,
bumping up the use a little. But the advantage of a high pressure geo-airflask is that it could be located almost anywhere, on site, save volcanic soil.
You need solid rock. But, it's technically possible, and I believe that the efficiencies are much larger than one gentlemen suggested.
Best regards, Dan

You are entierely right and more to it there is a new process currently developped in France where hots gases from industry can be used to produce power in the form of compressed air . I will produce a link but now i am at work so i was just browsing the BAUT site.

HenrikOlsen
2006-Nov-08, 01:55 PM
Part of the problem is the thermodynamic losses mentioned, ie. compress the air and it gets hotter. if that heat is lost any way including by heat transfer to the container that energy is lost, this is a fairly large part of the inefficiency of long term compressed air energy storage.
For bust storage such as saving brake energy until next acceleration this is not so big a problem as the heat transfer don't have time to kick in.

danscope
2006-Nov-09, 02:12 AM
You are entierely right and more to it there is a new process currently developped in France where hots gases from industry can be used to produce power in the form of compressed air . I will produce a link but now i am at work so i was just browsing the BAUT site.
Hi, Thank you for your interest. I look forward to your link.
Best regards, Dan

galacsi
2006-Nov-09, 09:41 PM
Hi, Thank you for your interest. I look forward to your link.
Best regards, Dan

Excuse for the delay (I was busy earning my meager pay ).

There you have : http://www.thermokin.com/ContactsUK.html

danscope
2006-Nov-10, 03:07 AM
Excuse for the delay (I was busy earning my meager pay ).

There you have : http://www.thermokin.com/ContactsUK.html

Thank you,Sir. Work pays for mirrors and green fees and beer.
Like Marvin the Martian said...."Delays...delays...."
Thanks for the link.
Best regards, Dan