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Old 16th October 2019, 12:16 PM   #121
BowlOfRed
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
How is this better than one big weight being raised and lowered in a deep shaft using a wire rope round a winding drum, which I believe is already being tried?
It's difficult/expensive to replicate deep shafts everywhere you want energy storage. Some concrete blocks and a tower can be put in many more locations.
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Old 16th October 2019, 12:40 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by BowlOfRed View Post
It's difficult/expensive to replicate deep shafts everywhere you want energy storage. Some concrete blocks and a tower can be put in many more locations.
It's too expensive. The amount of weight required is monumental, which means that the cost to build support structures which can hold up that weight is going to be monumental. Pumped water works because you use terrain to hold the weight of the water. It wouldn't work if you had to build storage towers with tanks at the top.
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Old 16th October 2019, 05:18 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Here's a design that might be practical on a small local scale. You need a vertical shaft in the ground, a long near-horizontal tunnel that intersects the bottom of the shaft and extends equal distances in each direction, and a near-horizontal railway that crosses near the top of the shaft. This would be expensive to create, but probably already exists in a lot of places in the form of abandoned mines.

When fully charged, the weights are loaded on a continuous chain of flatcars on one arm of the surface railway. Ideally, the loaded arm of the top railway should have a slight downward slope toward the shaft, and the bottom one a slight downward slope away from it, so that the railways are gravity-powered during the discharge cycle. To draw power, weights are lowered down the shaft (possibly more than one at a time, especially if the shaft is deep, using some kind of looping chain) and loaded onto the downhill rail arm underground. To store power, the opposite process occurs.

If suitable sites exist, this scheme could be simpler, safer, and more robust than building and rebuilding precision high-rise towers of stacked weights.
A Trompe would be so much easier and actually is present in many mines already
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Old 16th October 2019, 06:57 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
A Trompe would be so much easier and actually is present in many mines already
Doesn't have the necessary volume.
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Old 16th October 2019, 07:08 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Your source specifically mentions luddite policies like Germany shuttering existing reactors early because of paranoia.
Nuclear power phase-out: Germany
Quote:
In 2011, Deutsche Bank analysts concluded that "the global impact of the Fukushima accident is a fundamental shift in public perception with regard to how a nation prioritizes and values its populations health, safety, security, and natural environment when determining its current and future energy pathways"...

In September 2011, German engineering giant Siemens announced it will withdraw entirely from the nuclear industry, as a response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, and said that it would no longer build nuclear power plants anywhere in the world.

Also in September 2011, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said the Japanese nuclear disaster "caused deep public anxiety throughout the world and damaged confidence in nuclear power"
It's not just a few luddites who are concerned about the safety of nuclear power - even the industry itself knows there is a problem. And when an incident damages confidence in your product it's not the fault of 'Luddites'.

But in the US:-
Quote:
The United States is, as of 2013, undergoing a practical phase-out independent of stated goals and continued official support. This is not due to concerns about the source or anti-nuclear groups, but due to the rapidly falling prices of natural gas and the reluctance of investors to provide funding for long-term projects when short term profitability of turbine power is available.
No Luddites here, just practical investors!

Let's face it - Nuclear had 50 years worth of well subsidized chances to prove itself in the marketplace - and blew it. 50 years to find a solution to the nuclear waste problem. 50 years to develop safe low cost reactors. 50 years to get the public on their side. All with massive amounts of big government support. Are we going to wait another 20 years for them to finally get their act together? No, we can't wait that long - and the market is already moving on...

Don't blame 'Luddites' for the world wide nuclear phaseout - blame the industry itself for not keeping up.
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Old 16th October 2019, 07:17 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
It's not just a few luddites who are concerned about the safety of nuclear power
Correct. It's tens of millions of them.

Quote:
Let's face it - Nuclear had 50 years worth of well subsidized chances to prove itself in the marketplace - and blew it. 50 years to find a solution to the nuclear waste problem. 50 years to develop safe low cost reactors. 50 years to get the public on their side. All with massive amounts of big government support. Are we going to wait another 20 years for them to finally get their act together? No, we can't wait that long - and the market is already moving on...
None of that is relevant to the shuttering of existing nuclear power plants in Germany well before the end of their service life. The cost of construction was already sunk, you can't recover any of that with a shutdown. Continuing to operate them WAS cost efficient. And they were safe.

And it wasn't a phase out.
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Old 17th October 2019, 10:45 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
It's not a matter of complexity. It's a matter of material cost. It's prohibitively expensive. Pumped water storage works because you don't have to build the whole structure which holds up all the weight, you primarily rely upon terrain to do it for you.
Thanks for doing the math, that makes sense.
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Old 17th October 2019, 03:19 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
It's too expensive. The amount of weight required is monumental, which means that the cost to build support structures which can hold up that weight is going to be monumental. Pumped water works because you use terrain to hold the weight of the water. It wouldn't work if you had to build storage towers with tanks at the top.
A naturally raised area of land (hill) can also be used as a “tower” to support the weight of heavy solids. A disadvantage of water is there has to be sufficient flat area at the top of the hill for a lake or tank storage. There are far more hills available without such an area than with.
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Old 17th October 2019, 04:08 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
A naturally raised area of land (hill) can also be used as a “tower” to support the weight of heavy solids. A disadvantage of water is there has to be sufficient flat area at the top of the hill for a lake or tank storage. There are far more hills available without such an area than with.
The top of the hill can be chopped off. And in fact, I think that's what's typically done. That has been done.

But how do you expect to store those heavy solids? You can't just lay them out in one layer on a non-flat surface. The volume required means you'll have to stack them, which is itself a big drawback, and if you're trying to stack them in a non-flat storage area, that makes it even harder.

And moving liquids is easy. You can move a hell of a lot of liquid through a relatively small pipe. And the pipe doesn't have to move. The pipe will last a very long time. You can bury the pipe too, keeping it protected and out of the way. And the pipe can go up and down and zigzag and it won't really matter. But if you want to move a lot of solid, you need to put it all on wheels. Lots of wheels. And the wheels need to go on a track. And the track takes up a lot of space, and is hard to bury. And the track can't curve very sharply. And the wheels and the track require much more maintenance than a pipe. And again, arranging the weights at the top is a non-trivial exercise. The amount of volume we're talking about here is HUGE.

Water is far, far more economical than any alternative.
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Old 17th October 2019, 05:02 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
The top of the hill can be chopped off. And in fact, I think that's what's typically done. That has been done.
Chopping the top off a hill isn’t exactly a cheap exercise. Also reduces the height of the hill.

Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
But how do you expect to store those heavy solids? You can't just lay them out in one layer on a non-flat surface. The volume required means you'll have to stack them, which is itself a big drawback, and if you're trying to stack them in a non-flat storage area, that makes it even harder.
Weights don't have to be stored off the incline.

Trains - https://www.seeker.com/earth/energy/...e-livelong-day

Ski-type lifts (as Bill Gate$ has funded) - https://gigaom.com/2012/03/25/the-st...nergy-storage/

Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
And moving liquids is easy. You can move a hell of a lot of liquid through a relatively small pipe. And the pipe doesn't have to move. The pipe will last a very long time. You can bury the pipe too, keeping it protected and out of the way. And the pipe can go up and down and zigzag and it won't really matter. But if you want to move a lot of solid, you need to put it all on wheels. Lots of wheels. And the wheels need to go on a track. And the track takes up a lot of space, and is hard to bury. And the track can't curve very sharply. And the wheels and the track require much more maintenance than a pipe. And again, arranging the weights at the top is a non-trivial exercise. The amount of volume we're talking about here is HUGE.

Water is far, far more economical than any alternative.
Agree with most of that, but not sure that water systems are always the most available and practicable, and therefore economical. The "amount of volume" is HUGE only if we’re talking about HUGE grid storage. HUGE can also be achieved by many not-so-huge. Many hands make lights work

ETA - If you have a suitable hill with a suitable storage area on top, and a sufficient water supply, that is all reasonably close to where the electricity is required, then I agree pumping water is hard to beat.
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Old 17th October 2019, 05:47 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Weights don't have to be stored off the incline.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoo...-Storage_Plant

Raccoon Mountain has a volume of 7.6 million cubic meters. That's 7.6 billion kg. Union Pacific allows a maximum weight of 268,000 lbs, or about 120,000 kg, on their rail lines. You would need a train around 63,000 cars long to create the equivalent load.

Raccoon Mountain also has a power output capacity of 1,652 Megawatts, and can generate power for 22 hours. Your train setup will have a power output capacity of 50 MW, but probably can't maintain that for more than a few hours, if even that.

Such facilities may be useful in specific cases, but they can't compete with pumped hydro where it's available, and they won't come close to providing the full grid storage you would need to shift most power generation to solar and wind.
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Old 17th October 2019, 06:04 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raccoo...-Storage_Plant

Raccoon Mountain has a volume of 7.6 million cubic meters. That's 7.6 billion kg. Union Pacific allows a maximum weight of 268,000 lbs, or about 120,000 kg, on their rail lines. You would need a train around 63,000 cars long to create the equivalent load.

Raccoon Mountain also has a power output capacity of 1,652 Megawatts, and can generate power for 22 hours. Your train setup will have a power output capacity of 50 MW, but probably can't maintain that for more than a few hours, if even that.

Such facilities may be useful in specific cases, but they can't compete with pumped hydro where it's available, and they won't come close to providing the full grid storage you would need to shift most power generation to solar and wind.
I agree. But this is relevant.
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Old 17th October 2019, 11:16 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Shepherd View Post
Here's a youtube link to the animation of their proposed energy storage method:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itbwXMMkBQw

For the range of power outputs they are claiming, their method would indeed require the use and fast manipulation of thousands of their 35 ton blocks and probably well over 10,000 for their largest figure.
Interesting video. For those that do not want to watch have 6 cranes but have many weights that are stacked. These can be lowered one by one and the energy converted to electricity.

I think it would only take a little wind for the blocks to go somewhere they should not go. I also think the cost would be high to build.
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Old 18th October 2019, 01:44 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Nuclear power phase-out: GermanyIt's not just a few luddites who are concerned about the safety of nuclear power - even the industry itself knows there is a problem. And when an incident damages confidence in your product it's not the fault of 'Luddites'.
What you demonstrated in your quotes is that the the opposition to nuclear power is based upon fear, and nothing else.
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Old 18th October 2019, 01:52 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
What you demonstrated in your quotes is that the the opposition to nuclear power is based upon fear, and nothing else.
Not just fear - also a lack of effort by Nuclear Power Companies to get their act together.
Germany, in particular, had a lot of big, very expensive, problems with finding safe sites to store nuclear waste. The place they had settled on turned out to be a disaster which might take billions to clean up.

Was it a knee-jerk reaction to shut down the existing, relatively new reactors?
Absolutely.

But the nuclear energy sector has failed to clean up its mess upstream or downstream, and hasn't done anything to innovate, either. It was going to fail sooner or later anyway.
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Old 18th October 2019, 06:40 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
What you demonstrated in your quotes is that the the opposition to nuclear power is based upon fear, and nothing else.
There have been too many disasters. The engineers promised one accident per ten thousand years or similar, but we already had Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. They still haven't managed to properly clean up any of them - they are still leaking radioactive water at Fukushima, and in the recent Typhoon allowed hundreds of bags of radioactive waste to be swept away and lost into the environment.
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Old 18th October 2019, 09:01 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
There have been too many disasters. The engineers promised one accident per ten thousand years or similar, but we already had Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. They still haven't managed to properly clean up any of them - they are still leaking radioactive water at Fukushima, and in the recent Typhoon allowed hundreds of bags of radioactive waste to be swept away and lost into the environment.
With hundreds of reactors operating around the world over the course of the last 50-60 years, your named 4 disasters is in line with a rate in the same order of magnitude as 1/10,000 years per reactor. Depending on how many reactors there were in the past (fewer than today), that rate may be as high as 1/1000 years/reactor or as low as 1/5000 years/reactor.

It's also not clear that something like Three Mile Island was the same sort of thing that was being discussed as a "disaster".

Nuclear's record is that it's the safest form of power/unit energy that we have ever produced.
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Old 18th October 2019, 11:48 PM   #138
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My comment about the promised accident rate was for all the reactors on earth combined. Yes, nuclear power supporters really did claim that reactors would be incredibly safe.

The reality seems to be that with the present number of reactors, we should expect one major disaster every twenty years or so - and by disaster I mean displacing thousands of people from their homes for years, costing billions of dollars over decades of clean-up time, and making food produced over hundreds of square miles unfit for human consumption.

If you try that sales pitch on the public, don't be surprised when they choose not to buy nuclear - and that's even before you tell them about the higher cost per unit energy compared to most other electricity generating methods.

The cost-per-unit is another thing that nuclear advocates got wrong: in the early days they claimed that the power produced would be 'too cheap to meter.'

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Old 18th October 2019, 11:58 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
My comment about the promised accident rate was for all the reactors on earth combined. Yes, nuclear power supporters really did claim that reactors would be incredibly safe.
Cool, do you have a quote? I'm curious if they were talking about the same sort of disaster that you are.

Quote:
The reality seems to be that with the present number of reactors, we should expect one major disaster every twenty years or so - and by disaster I mean displacing thousands of people from their homes for years, costing billions of dollars over decades of clean-up time, and making food produced over hundreds of square miles unfit for human consumption.
I don't think Three Mile Island fits into that description.
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Old 19th October 2019, 12:27 AM   #140
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The problem, of course, is that there is no completely safe method of power production. Coal miners have been dying for centuries, there are accidents like the Deepwater Horizon etc etc. With proper regulation and inspection nuclear power should actually be one of the safer ones.
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Old 19th October 2019, 01:38 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
The problem, of course, is that there is no completely safe method of power production. Coal miners have been dying for centuries, there are accidents like the Deepwater Horizon etc etc. With proper regulation and inspection nuclear power should actually be one of the safer ones.
It already is safer than any other energy source.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/...energy-source/
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Old 19th October 2019, 07:30 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Cool, do you have a quote? I'm curious if they were talking about the same sort of disaster that you are.

I don't think Three Mile Island fits into that description.
It's clearly wasn't as severe as Chernobyl and Fukushima but they alone are sufficient for the 'once every twenty years' estimate. Three mile island has cost about a billion dollars so far in clean up costs, and there are still no clear ideas about how to deal with the radioactive concrete in the basement.

Nuclear power supporters claimed a "core damage frequency" of one event per ten thousand reactor years, rising to twenty or even fifty thousand reactor years in later claims.

So far, worldwide, about 17,000 reactor years have occurred, so we should have expected, according to the claims about 1.7 or fewer CDEs (Core damage events).

But there have been at least eleven CDEs that we know of, and it's quite possible that other events, in Russia for example, have been covered up.

Using the reactors built so far as real data, we arrive at the estimate that each reactor has about a one in forty chance of meltdown during its lifetime. Of course, supporters will argue that newer designs are safer, and that is very likely true - but it doesn't alter the fact that those same supporters claimed in the past that the older designs were also safe.

Many of the existing reactors have been built near sea level, and it's not clear how safe they will remain if and when the sea level rise predicted by climate change science occurs.

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Old 19th October 2019, 07:32 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
It already is safer than any other energy source.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/...energy-source/
arguably, that is due to the way we set the data-cutoff.
We don't know which harm the waste will cause in the next 30,000 years - if it only causes one death a year, it will not be one of safe energy sources....
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Old 19th October 2019, 06:20 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
The cost-per-unit is another thing that nuclear advocates got wrong: in the early days they claimed that the power produced would be 'too cheap to meter.'
And it would have been too, if wasn't for all the Luddites insisting on having safer containment etc.

What's worse is the complicity of the nuclear authorities, siding with the Luddites and acquiescing to their fears. They should have just let the Free Market work out the best balance between safety and cost. And if a few people get irradiated in the process - well they can always sue.

Originally Posted by Pixel42
The problem, of course, is that there is no completely safe method of power production. Coal miners have been dying for centuries, there are accidents like the Deepwater Horizon etc etc.
Two wrongs make a right!

Coal kills 13,000 people a year in the US and nobody bats an eye. Therefore a few nuclear accidents shouldn't be an issue, right? I mean, let's say we replace all the coal with nuclear, and a few reactors blow up. So long as they don't kill more than 13,000 per year it's all good! But I bet the Luddites would still complain...
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Old 19th October 2019, 08:05 PM   #145
The Great Zaganza
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A bit disingenuous to call critics of nuclear power luddites when the nuclear industry has just pocketed its profits for half a century instead of innovating from the technology it inherited from government research.
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Old 19th October 2019, 11:45 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Two wrongs make a right!

Coal kills 13,000 people a year in the US and nobody bats an eye. Therefore a few nuclear accidents shouldn't be an issue, right? I mean, let's say we replace all the coal with nuclear, and a few reactors blow up. So long as they don't kill more than 13,000 per year it's all good! But I bet the Luddites would still complain...
If you want to compare the safety of some source of energy you have to compare it to the other options, not to some imagined perfect energy source that has no safety concerns.

So yes, replacing coal with nuclear, even if we knew that there would be some reactor meltdowns, would be a good idea, at least with respect to safety.
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Old 20th October 2019, 03:16 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
The reality seems to be that with the present number of reactors, we should
The cost-per-unit is another thing that nuclear advocates got wrong: in the early days they claimed that the power produced would be 'too cheap to meter.'
That regarding fusion not fission. A common misconception.
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Old 20th October 2019, 03:19 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
If you want to compare the safety of some source of energy you have to compare it to the other options, not to some imagined perfect energy source that has no safety concerns.

So yes, replacing coal with nuclear, even if we knew that there would be some reactor meltdowns, would be a good idea, at least with respect to safety.
For safety AND the environment, we need more nuclear if we want to keep the lights on.
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Old 20th October 2019, 04:44 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
That regarding fusion not fission. A common misconception.
Thank you. I didn't know that. I guess we should wait for fusion power to come on line then - it's supposed to be much cleaner than fission as well as being dirt cheap. I guess it can't be more than 40 years away now?
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Old 21st October 2019, 01:20 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
How is this better than one big weight being raised and lowered in a deep shaft using a wire rope round a winding drum, which I believe is already being tried?

Dave
Or a magnetically levitated flywheel in vacuum, which is a more energy dense tech in use.
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Old 21st October 2019, 01:23 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Or a magnetically levitated flywheel in vacuum, which is a more energy dense tech in use.
... which fail very spectacularly when they do...
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Old 2nd December 2019, 12:44 PM   #152
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California solves batteries’ embarrassing climate problem

Quote:
In 2015, the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) made explicit that the three goals of SGIP (Self-Generation Incentive Program) projects were to “improve reliability of the distribution and transmission system, reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and lower grid infrastructure costs.” Note that’s an “and,” not an “or.”

The same year, the CPUC also boosted the required round-trip efficiency (RTE) of SGIP storage projects to at least 66.5 percent. The assumption was that batteries would be used to absorb excess renewable energy during the day and discharge it at night — in other words, reduce emissions — and thus, RTE was seen as a rough proxy for emission reductions.

But that is not how things went. As it turns out, if the only metric is financial benefit to the battery owner, batteries tend to charge with cheap, dirty power at night and discharge during the day for peak reduction (to reduce commercial demand charges) — that is, they tend to be operated in a way that increases emissions.

Very little increase in emissions, but clearly still not a decrease:

Quote:
To the CPUC’s credit, it did not ignore the problem. It brought in research firm Itron to do a formal 2016 storage-impact evaluation (released in 2017). It found that while SGIP projects had reduced overall emissions, the storage projects had actually increased emissions. The net increase is relatively trivial in the grand scheme of things — less than 1,000 tons of emissions in a state with well over 700 million tons annually

So the system changes, with the incentives changed to reward the use of the batteries in a way that reduces emissions:

Quote:
...under the proposal, new commercial-storage installations will still get the same amount of SGIP money — but only 50 percent will be paid up front. The other 50 percent will be paid out over five years based on demonstrated reductions in annual emissions, which must amount to 5 kilograms of CO2 for every kWh of capacity.

How to do that?

Quote:
...the working group decided that what was needed is a “GHG signal” — real-time information about the carbon intensity, or dirtiness, of the grid, as well as a 24-hour forecast about the expected carbon intensity of the grid, available to all battery operators. That’s the information they need to plan their operations.

After that the article gets into the details of how battery operators can determine when the grid is running "cleaner" - more renewables, less carbon based. They get incentives to charge the batteries during those periods.

My take: As more renewables come on-line, this sort of planning will become more valuable. Variable output combined the lack of energy storage is still the Achilles heels of renewable energy, it is good to see some practical thought going in to it.

Last edited by crescent; 2nd December 2019 at 02:12 PM.
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