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The Age of the Giant Battery Is Almost Upon Us

Alternative Energy

Bloomberg has an article on the great strides being made by the missing link in the transition to 100% renewable energy – cost effective energy storage – The Age of the Giant Battery Is Almost Upon Us.

Battery costs have declined 40 percent since 2014 and regulators are mandating storage technology be added to the grid. That’s encouraging utilities to offer longer contracts and developers are expected build $2.5 billion in systems globally this year. These trends are changing the risk profile, giving lenders confidence in batteries in much the same way that power-purchase agreements opened banks’ doors years ago for wind and solar power.

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25 Comments on "The Age of the Giant Battery Is Almost Upon Us"

  1. Cloggie on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 7:21 am 

    Won’t be long until you can dump a 5kWh accu, covering your household 24/24 in your shopping cart as if it were a 8TB external hard drive for 350 euro.

    In the eighties I had a 1541 Commodore-64 floppy disk drive for 1000 guilders, with a capacity, what was it? 156k or so. Assume owning 100 floppies. That was more money for a storage capacity of a factor of 8000000/156 = 0.5 million worse.

    Expect a similar development with batteries.

  2. brough on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 9:00 am 

    The best I can do for battery tech. at the moment is a lithium/iron/phoshate unit supplied by Moixa (www.moixa.com). At 3kWh capacity its getting towards Cloggie’s dream of 5kWh. However 2 main drawbacks, 3000euros+ and output runs at either 3x DC at 23-32V, 14A max or a single AC output at 240V and 430W.
    430W is great for me, because I have simple needs, but if my wife needs to iron cloths, use the toaster or electic kettle, I’m going to get a whole lot of complaints.
    I’ve been promised improved battery technology is just around the corner for about 12 months now and I’m still waiting. Anyone out there got anything better than the one offered by Moixa.

  3. penury on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 9:58 am 

    Fusion will supply all the electricity that humans require. The age of ‘giant batteries” is almost here. Come on people there must be other “life extending” large scale tech solutions to over population which we have just around the corner to extend and pretend for a little while longer. Its all “whistling by the graveyard” and I figure that most people can sense the on coming darkness.

  4. Hello on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 10:55 am 

    Not likely Clog. Storing information vs storing energy is a completely different ball game.

  5. Antius on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 11:00 am 

    What’s this? Another specious renewable energy claim that I need to smash to pieces? I have downloaded the report and will get right on it. 🙂

  6. tahoe1780 on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 12:09 pm 

    Chemistry vs Physics. Apples vs oranges

  7. Jerry McManus on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 12:42 pm 

    Gawd, what a colossal waste of everyone’s time.

    Any idiot with half a synapse can see that it is way, WAY easier to store heat than it is to store electricity.

    And what do we use a big slice of our energy for anyway? Yup, you guessed it. Space heating and domestic hot water.

    Don’t try and tell that to the “renewable” idiots, their heads are stuffed too far up their prius to see something as obvious as that.

  8. Anonymous on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 12:49 pm 

    Hey clogtard. Cant tell the difference between data storage and energy storage. You think there similar, or maybe you think they are identical?

    Oh wait, you just EXPECT the same thing that happened to HD’s will just, naturally, happen to batteries. Because clogged arteries wishes it so.

    You might be waiting a while.

    I expected wed have vacations on the moon, AI, fusion power, robot maids and flying cars long ago, but all those of those projects are either on hold or waaaaay behind schedule.

    Its called ‘false equivalence’ cloggo. And it seems to be yet another recurring theme with you. I know its news to you that batteries are not computer HD’s and vice versa. Just like its news to you trump is not an anti-globalist, and it is also news to you that wind and solar power are created using fossil-fuels.

    Batteries are not going to the day cloggster, anymore than trump is going to save us from George Soros, or ‘bio-fools’ made by hand-labor and horses, will build and power endless fleets of robo-cars so you can sit on your dumb ass and listen to Alex Jones podcasts while your robo-car drives you into the North Sea.

  9. Antius on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 6:41 pm 

    ‘Any idiot with half a synapse can see that it is way, WAY easier to store heat than it is to store electricity.’

    Easier and much cheaper. A litre of rock heated to 1000C will store 2MJ of heat, almost as much as a deep cycle battery which is much larger in size. How much does 1 litre of rock cost? A deep cycle battery capable of storing 1.3kWh will cost you $100 and will die after 500 cycles.

    High quality heat stored in hot rock can be converted back to electricity with up to 60% efficiency using S-CO2 power generation cycles. That means that whole cycle efficiency is 50%. Not as good as battery or pumped storage, but much more energy dense and you can build it anywhere.

  10. Cloggie on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 6:49 pm 

    Pretty soon a battery capable of powering an electric 747 on a flight around the world will fit in a brief case. Just think about how big a vinyl record is and it’s got only about 12 songs and now I can fit 1000’s of songs on a flash drive. Anybody who doesn’t understand that is stupid.

  11. John Kintree on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 7:19 pm 

    I would greatly appreciate for articles about batteries to give the price per kWh instead of the % reduction in price. The articles should also give the number of charge/discharge cycles the batteries can take before losing 10% of their capacity. To make it even better, it would be nice to know how abundant the raw materials for the batteries are, and how easily those materials can be recycled.

  12. brent on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 9:55 pm 

    “A battery capable of powering an electric 747 on flight around the world will fit into a suitcase” Wow just wow I thought I had heard them all.

  13. dave thompson on Wed, 22nd Feb 2017 11:55 pm 

    When this wonderful world of battery powered electricity is in the market place and available for all at the cheap and easy price of forever I will shit and get off the pot!

  14. Antius on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 1:33 am 

    ‘Pretty soon a battery capable of powering an electric 747 on a flight around the world will fit in a brief case. Just think about how big a vinyl record is and it’s got only about 12 songs and now I can fit 1000’s of songs on a flash drive. Anybody who doesn’t understand that is stupid.’

    Cloggie, that is not possible using any battery technology that we presently understand. Bottom line is, a battery is a self contained chemical energy store. Energy density is always limited by the energy density of the reactant components. That is always going to be less than a hydrocarbon burned in air. The power density of the device is also limited by heat generation.

  15. Cloggie on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 3:06 am 

    Cloggie, that is not possible using any battery technology that we presently understand.

    Antius, I didn’t say that. It was stinking Friday again who continuous to corrupt this forum via identity theft and posting under my name.

  16. Antius on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 6:52 am 

    ‘I would greatly appreciate for articles about batteries to give the price per kWh instead of the % reduction in price. The articles should also give the number of charge/discharge cycles the batteries can take before losing 10% of their capacity. To make it even better, it would be nice to know how abundant the raw materials for the batteries are, and how easily those materials can be recycled.’

    Here is some data for the ABS LP 110 deep cycle battery: 12V, 110Ah, 500 discharge cycle life span. Retail cost UK£80 (reduced to £67).

    Assuming a 70% charge cycle, the battery will store 0.92kWh per cycle. Over 500 cycles that’s 462kWh. Dividing total cost by total kWh, that’s £0.17/kWh. Cycle efficiency is about 80%, so you lose one fifth of the power you try to store this way. Cycle efficiency goes down the longer you attempt to store power in this way, as batteries have a self-discharge rate. At a total storage cost of £80/kWh, for the UK to store 10% of its annual electricity needs (40billion kWh), the required investment cost in batteries would be £3.2trillion.

    A bit expensive at present, though economy of scale may bring prices down to an extent. I am sceptical that we will see deep reductions in cost unless a completely new technology is available using more abundant materials.

    With storage so expensive in this way, it may be more effective to build a cheaper but less efficient storage mechanism for long-term storage of TWh levels of energy. That is why I advocated thermal energy storage. That is effectively an S-CO2 generating plant attached to a large insulated body of hot rock. Less efficient than batteries, but orders of magnitude lower capital costs.

  17. Cloggie on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 7:33 am 

    http://thebulletin.org/limits-energy-storage-technology

    The maximum theoretical potential of advanced lithium-ion batteries that haven’t yet been demonstrated to work is still only about 6 percent of crude oil.

    So 16 liter battery would contain 8 kWh in a fully developed technology, which would be perfect for a household.

    As Antius has indicated, what really matters at this point is how many times you can charge/discharge a battery. Not sure about theoretical limits here and/or recycle potential of used batteries.

    Remember the old fashioned light bulb of 1000 hours life span? Currently LEDs are guaranteed for 30,000 hours. No guarantees though for a similar development in the field of battery.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_Powerwall
    Specs for model-2:

    13.5 kWh
    112 kg
    $407/kWh
    $5500
    5000 cycles within warranty

    This is reasonably good, except for the price, but that can be expected to come down considerably. Industry is promising $100-300/kWh in a few years time.

    At the moment, pumped hydro is still the best (cost-effective) option.

  18. Cloggie on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 7:36 am 

    That is why I advocated thermal energy storage. That is effectively an S-CO2 generating plant attached to a large insulated body of hot rock. Less efficient than batteries, but orders of magnitude lower capital costs.

    I did phd work on that; it is indeed one of the most promising ways forward.

    Hamburg has discovered that as well:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/hamburg-considers-large-scale-storage-of-heat/

  19. Davy on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 8:01 am 

    “That is why I advocated thermal energy storage.”

    Clog, this is exactly what Ghung does at his homestead for a fraction of the cost of your industrial scale thermal energy storage. I think Ghung is on to something.

  20. Cloggie on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 8:41 am 

    As Antius can confirm, the larger the storage volume becomes (R^3), the less the losses due to leaking (R^2).

    Seasonal storage doesn’t work on the scale of a private household for this reason with low tech (heating a volume of soil with simple pipes/hoses and solar collectors). By the time it gets Winter, your single household little soil storage volume has been cooled off already.

    With “high-tech” it is a different story and that’s what’s in the pipeline:

    https://deepresource.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/merits-seasonal-heat-storage-breakthrough/

  21. John Kintree on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 10:10 am 

    In addition to cost/kwh, and number of charge/discharge cycles, and availability and recyclability of materials, the other key metric is what percent of the electricity is retained after storing it and getting it back out of storage.

    90% efficiency in electricity retained is good. 50% efficiency is not so good.

  22. John Kintree on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 10:20 am 

    Which of the following batteries is better?

    $100/kwh
    1,000 charge/discharge cycles
    abundant, non-toxic, and easily recyclable materials
    90% retention after storage

    $200/kwh
    5,000 charge/discharge cycles
    abundant, non-toxic, and easily recyclable materials
    80% retention after storage

    $200/kwh
    10,000 charge/discharge cycles
    abundant, non-toxic, and easily recyclable materials
    70% retention after storage

  23. Antius on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 12:32 pm 

    ‘Which of the following batteries is better?

    $100/kwh
    1,000 charge/discharge cycles
    abundant, non-toxic, and easily recyclable materials
    90% retention after storage

    $200/kwh
    5,000 charge/discharge cycles
    abundant, non-toxic, and easily recyclable materials
    80% retention after storage

    $200/kwh
    10,000 charge/discharge cycles
    abundant, non-toxic, and easily recyclable materials
    70% retention after storage’

    The third one. The capital costs of large scale storage tend to dwarf the generating cost of power. So a less efficient but lower capital cost alternative will generally win.

  24. Antius on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 12:54 pm 

    I ran an economic analysis for a large scale high temperature thermal energy storage system capable of storing 200TWh of heat, producing ~120TWh of electric power.

    Some technical specs: High temperature storage (500-1000C) in a mixture of dredged aggregate sand and gravel, which is contained in a large concrete shell. S-CO2 power plants with an assumed capital cost of £1000/kW were the power conversion system, with a total capacity of 50GWe. Total capital costs were £60bn. O&M costs were £3.5bn. Assuming a 10% payback rate on invested capital, the added cost of electricity storage would be £0.074/kWh.

    The system is ~50% efficient. So, if overall one half of all renewable energy were stored this way, we would need to increase renewable energy production by one third to accommodate the storage losses.

    Ultimate wholesale cost of 1kWh of stabilised renewable power would be 0.5B+(Bx0.67)+0.5×0.074. Where B is the average generating cost of variable renewable electricity that goes onto the grid. No doubt I have overlooked some costs. But if we assume an average value of B to be £0.2/kWh, the end cost of a unit of stabilised power would be £0.27. So converting intermittent power to non-intermittent power using the thermal storage system increases its cost by ~36%. That’s a lot better than I expected.

  25. Antius on Thu, 23rd Feb 2017 2:15 pm 

    Made a mistake. The cost is 1.33B + 0.5×0.074

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