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A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt 2

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 14:45:43

@ pstarr... comprehension not your strong suit then....
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 14:53:31

kiwichick wrote:"reusable over semi-infinite cycles ,discharge 100% of the stored energy and do not degrade for more than 20 years"

"This type of battery can offer almost unlimited energy capacity "

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/ ... 6e1872713a

Here is a comment on the article
Top CommentREPLYFlagPermalink
Margaret Harding
Margaret Harding 10 days ago
Jim, I asked my favorite expert on batteries (got his PhD two years ago in the topic). Here’s his answer: The first couple of paragraphs are roughly accurate and, yes, it’s a real technology. The biggest issue with flow batteries is the membrane: it needs to allow anions to pass easily but not let the vanadium ions (in this case) cross, while also maintaining physical separation of the fluids (usually under pressure) and providing electrical insulation between the electrodes. There’s also the issue that the electrodes themselves need to be porous enough to allow the fluid to flow with minimal pressure drop (i.e. energy loss), while also providing good electrical conductivity and enough surface area to actually do the reactions.This is primarily an engineering challenge, but I’m not well versed on the constraints for this system in particular.
Two things I’d pay attention to here: * Cost: Flow batteries decouple capacity (kWh) and power (kW), since capacity is set by the size of the tank and power is set by the size of the electrodes and membranes. Tanks are cheap (and so is vanadium), but electrodes are not – so pay attention not just to the $/kWh, but also the $/kW, which is not as prominently listed in the article. * Lifetime: I would be suspicious of the 20-year advertisement from this company. Capacity fade (as normally observed in a li-ion battery) is probably improved like they say (it’s a solution-phase reaction and much less harsh than li-ion), but I would not trust the electrode assembly to last anywhere near that long, and may or may not be dependent on use.
All that said, it seems like this company is really building these things at scale. It is definitely true that grid scale battery storage has totally different constraints from mobile applications, and so things like flow batteries are much more feasible in those applications.

Here's a followup to the above:
Top CommentREPLYFlagPermalink
James ConcaAUTHOR
James Conca 10 days ago
Yes, so far the membrane advances have been pretty good as is the electrodes. It will depend on the lifespan of the electrodes. All companies and researchers involved agree in the >20 yrs, but again, we’ll see.
Top Comment

So yes, vanadium battery technology is a game-changer . . . in theory. Practically there are 20 years of R&D required to implement the many technical details.
So it seems vanadium might perhaps someday be the solution to off-grid, off peak alt-energy indeterminacy. Unfortunately for us vanadium does not exist now. While peak oil is now. :cry:
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 15:33:22

again VRF battery already in operation....60 Mwh installed in Japan

http://carnegiewave.com/wp-content/uplo ... elease.pdf
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 15:39:12

kiwichick wrote:again VRF battery already in operation....60 Mwh installed in Japan

http://carnegiewave.com/wp-content/uplo ... elease.pdf

Well your link doesn't lead to any useful information and 60 Mwh is a volume of delivered energy which is a long way from 5MW of capacity. 5MW of capacity working at just 25% of the time would produce 900Mwh per month.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 15:45:49

kiwichick wrote:@ kj....you need to get out more....

http://energystorage.org/energy-storage ... -batteries


kiwichick, I was a working engineer. I had a library full of component and hardware catalogs. If a part is not in production, not available for order, and not available from multiple suppliers, then it cannot be used in a new product design. Those are the only rules that work in the real world.

Understand that most such articles as that such as you linked to above are for getting R&D funding. They don't mean that the technology is available for use or ever will be.

High capacity battery technology in production today consists of these three:

Lead-Acid wet cell and gel cell: About 10 year life, or 1000 charge discharge cycles between 20% and 80% of rated capacity.

Nickle-Iron Phosphate batteries: About 2X the life in years and 2X the charge/discharge cycles as lead batteries, but also 2X the initial cost. The high initial cost is a barrier to their use, very few suppliers worldwide.

Lithium-something batteries: Three subtypes (Lithium/Ion, Lithium/Iron, and Lithium/polymer), all equivalent in cost and capacity. Cost is 7X to 11X lead-acid. Capacity is about 3X that of lead-acid per pound or per cubic inch, and charge/discharge life is about 3X or 3000 cycles. Complex programmable battery management software and systems needed. Known lifetimes of 10+ years, but who knows how much more.

Those are the batteries you can buy and use. Any others are R&D projects. Your second link is a letter of understanding between Sumitomo and an Australian customer, and includes a link claiming to have a 60 MWh battery installed in Japan. That would be a "pilot" program, not commercial production. Funny thing, VRF batteries are not in production and not in catalogs.

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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 18:22:03

"UET has megawatt scale fully containerized flow battery systems deployed and operating in the field"

reality bites!!

http://www.uetechnologies.com/news/76-u ... on-project
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 18:58:26

pstarr wrote:Here's a followup to the above:
Top CommentREPLYFlagPermalink
James ConcaAUTHOR
James Conca 10 days ago
Yes, so far the membrane advances have been pretty good as is the electrodes. It will depend on the lifespan of the electrodes. All companies and researchers involved agree in the >20 yrs, but again, we’ll see.
Top Comment

So yes, vanadium battery technology is a game-changer . . . in theory. Practically there are 20 years of R&D required to implement the many technical details.
So it seems vanadium might perhaps someday be the solution to off-grid, off peak alt-energy indeterminacy. Unfortunately for us vanadium does not exist now. While peak oil is now. :cry:
You misunderstood what was written here. He is not saying 20 more years of R&D are needed. He is saying the lifespan of the battery is more than 20 years. The OP stated she had concerns on the stated 20 year lifetime because of failure of the electrode assembly. James was correcting this concern saying all companies and researchers said the lifetime should in fact be greater than 20 years.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby AdamB » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 20:08:41

kiwichick wrote:@ pstarr... comprehension not your strong suit then....


..this just came to you...NOW?
Peak oil in 2020: And here is why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 20:46:21

Vanadium batteries are not nearly ready for the consumer market. A simple google search returns: (/shopping/vanadium_battery) returns a "Land Rover™ Lr3 Range Rover™ Sport Key Case". No battery, just trinkets lol. These flow-girl batteries are just another investor scam for the clueless. We see many investor scams come and go here at po.com :cry:

The truth remains: vanadium (and any chemical battery storage system) has crappy energy density compared to fossil fuels. Current production vanadium redox batteries achieve an energy density of about 90 kJ/kg of electrolyte. Whereas petroleum is 46.4 mg/kg. Wood is 16.2 mg/kg . . . for god's sake. :? For those math-retarded that is 100 orders of magnitude . . . of FAIL.

Our transport system (which is mostly what peak oil is about. Not television batteries) is all about transport fuel. This stuff is a distraction.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 21:19:34

pstarr wrote:Vanadium batteries are not nearly ready for the consumer market. A simple google search returns: (/shopping/vanadium_battery) returns a "Land Rover™ Lr3 Range Rover™ Sport Key Case". No battery, just trinkets lol. I am pretty sure that these flow-girl batteries are just another investor scam for the clueless. We see many investor scams come and go here at po.com :cry:
They are not an investor scam. Flow batteries were invented by the utilities themselves to solve grid storage issues. Decades of development went into them. This is not a fly by night get rich quick scam. The largest battery in the world(800 Mwh) is going to be a vandium flow battery. This one battery represents five times the capacity of all of the grid energy storage deployed in the US for all of 2015(161 Mwh).

UniEnergy Technologies (UET)'s strategic partner and affiliate Rongke Power will deploy the world's largest battery, rated at 800 Megawatt-hour (MWh).

Flow batteries were originally invented by utilities in the United States to offer Megawatt (MW)-scale buffer capacity. After decades of development and deployments, only close collaboration between the US and China has yielded the scientific and engineering breakthroughs needed to meet stringent requirements for utility performance, reliability, and safety.
UniEnergy Technologies Strategic Partner to Deliver World’s Largest Battery
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 21:21:51

pstarr wrote:The truth remains: vanadium (and any chemical battery storage system) has crappy energy density compared to fossil fuels. Current production vanadium redox batteries achieve an energy density of about 90 kJ/kg of electrolyte. Whereas petroleum is 46.4 mg/kg. Wood is 16.2 mg/kg . . . for god's sake. :? For those math-retarded that is 100 orders of magnitude . . . of FAIL.

Our transport system (which is mostly what peak oil is about. Not television batteries) is all about transport fuel. This stuff is a distraction.
Apples and oranges. Energy density is important for mobile applications like vehicles and electronics. However is is far less important for stationary applications like grid energy storage. The important variables for grid energy storage are durability(cycles) and cost.

He observes that the prices Tesla and others are now talking about work pretty well for electric vehicles, but electric industry stationary storage applications are another game entirely. The reason for that is that in a car, the battery is only charging and discharging perhaps a few times weekly. Over 93% of the time, the average vehicle sits idle. So one can afford a battery that only runs 3,000 cycles or so. By contrast, grid applications are far more taxing, and today’s batteries aren’t quite up to snuff when faced with the durability issue in heavy duty cycle applications.

"If you need to operate that battery every day at full depth of discharge for 10 or 15 years – the beginning of range for traditional power requirements - you are not going to be able to do that….The next step is to make batteries that endure and are durable for long time periods while maintaining a low price."

Jaffe stresses that durability is really the key issue. While batteries are vastly better than they were ten years ago, and have reached the point where they have made EVs viable, he states,

"Batteries have reached the point where they are good for the automotive industry. But we are still not there yet with stationary storage, and that is the next crusade being waged today. How do we turn batteries that under normal conditions last 2,000 cycles, how do we make them last 10,000 cycles, 20,000 cycles? I think we will reach that level of performance and durability."

And what about the oft-heard viewpoint that lithium ion will be the inevitable winner in the storage wars. What about the flow batteries and other competing technologies out there? Can any of them grow to be giants? Jaffe thinks not, in large part because lithium ion enjoys economies of scale that will be hard for flow batteries to reach, at least in the near future.

I think it’s safe to say we live in a lithium ion world and will continue to do so in the next ten years. However, there’s going to be a very large market for flow batteries assuming pricing comes down, and they are able to scale up manufacturing, which I think are both reasonable assumptions to make.

"The flow battery companies will probably be able to occupy the niche that requires durability and a very large number of cycles – tens of thousands of cycles, compared with the five or six thousand lithium ion is currently good for. They will also fit into applications where many hours of storage are required. Vanadium flow batteries can last 10,000 cycles, but the price point is still out of reach. As the price comes down, that will definitely be one possibility."
One Expert's View On The Near-Term Future Of Energy Storage
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby pstarr » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 21:32:37

kublikhan wrote:The largest battery in the world(800 Mwh) is going to be a vandium flow battery. This one battery represents five times the capacity of all of the grid energy storage deployed in the US for all of 2015(161 Mwh).

Then how does EIA say this: "There are 40 pumped storage plants operating in the United States (see map below) totaling more than 22 gigawatts (GW) of storage capacity, roughly 2% of U.S. generating capacity"
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 21:58:23

pstarr wrote:Then how does EIA say this: "There are 40 pumped storage plants operating in the United States (see map below) totaling more than 22 gigawatts (GW) of storage capacity, roughly 2% of U.S. generating capacity"
I said deployed in 2015. Most of those plants are several decades old. Little new pumped storage is being deployed in the US.

There's no doubt that pumped-storage hydropower is a valuable resource in the U.S. These facilities are ideal to store energy from and balance intermittent renewables, such as wind and solar, providing stability and flexibility to the transmission grid. In fact, in 2012, data from EPRI indicates pumped-storage hydropower accounted for more than 99% of bulk storage capacity worldwide, about 127,000 MW.

However, it's also an undeniable fact that there has been little new development in this field in the U.S. in the past two decades, which seems to indicate the atmosphere is not favorable for encouraging construction of pumped-storage facilities.

The heyday of this technology in the U.S. appears to be the 1960s and 1970s, with facilities going on line in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The 3,003-MW Bath County facility, which was completed in 1985 in Virginia, is the largest pumped-storage plant in terms of generating capacity in the world.

It seems that the most recently completed pumped-storage project in the U.S. is the 40-MW Lake Hodges plant, built by the San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) at the existing Olivenhain Reservoir and completed in September 2012. (For more on this project, see the sidebar on page 14.) However, before that it had been more than 15 years since such a project was completed, that one being the 1,035-MW Rocky Mountain facility in Georgia, owned by Oglethorpe Power Corp., which began operating in 1995.
A (Potentially) Bright Future for Pumped Storage in the U.S.

While benefits of expanding pumped storage capacity are clear, current market structures and regulatory frameworks do not present an effective means of achieving this goal.
Pumped storage strengthens the grid

Pumped Hydro currently dwarfs all other technologies combined. Grid storage is similar to where renewables were 8 years ago when Hydro dwarfed all other renewables combined.

US Grid Energy Storage
Pumped Hydro: 20,400 MW
Thermal: 648? MW
Batteries: 380 MW
CAES: 114 MW
FlyWheel: 58MW
Total: 21,600 MW
U.S. GRID ENERGY STORAGE FACTSHEET
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Fri 23 Dec 2016, 22:33:13

Thanks Kublikhan ......yes the area I am interested in battery storage at grid level to balance the energy from renewables......the combination of renewable power and large scale storage makes 100% renewable systems highly competitive .....even without a carbon tax
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 24 Dec 2016, 00:42:29

I don't really care if the grid storage comes from batteries, CAES, thermal, pumped storage, or something else. Whatever is economical works for me.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Zarquon » Sat 24 Dec 2016, 01:36:17



Thanks, that stuff is interesting. For a four-year old investor scam they seem to do pretty well. Apparently they've sold their boxes to utilities in China, Italy and the US, the navy and several household name manufacturers in Germany. And they're starting a two-year microgrid test project involving some of the big names in US gov't-financed research labs. In other words: "if these guys say it works as advertised, it works as advertised".

OK, I'm in no position to judge the technical details, but if you go to the products page, the picture at the top carries IMHO the important message they want you to get: "Look, ma, forklifts! It's a real factory". Which it probably isn't. More like a 60,000 sq ft lab, and the forklift went back to Rent-a-Fork after the photoshoot. And if you call them to order a box or two, they'll connect you to the vice president of global marketing who then invites you to Seattle to talk about it. But they're definitely in the market now, and they've built all that in four years, with some blue-chip Japanese money apparently coming in soon.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 24 Dec 2016, 05:32:40

kiwichick wrote:"UET has megawatt scale fully containerized flow battery systems deployed and operating in the field"

reality bites!!

http://www.uetechnologies.com/news/76-u ... on-project

I stand corrected. :oops:
UNITED STATES: Snohomish County Public Utility District (SNOPUD) has installed a 2MW/8MWh vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB), supplied by UniEnergy Technologies, which will be based on an open standards platform.
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby kiwichick » Sat 24 Dec 2016, 07:05:04

@ V....no worries dude....i'm having trouble getting my head around it too.....but I can see how we can transition without collapsing our global economic system....not that I think it will be all plain sailing, but I do think its possible if we get our collective act together

Hope you and your family have a merry Xmas and that you have a fab 2017.......it's Christmas Day here ...1.04 am ...and i'm off to bed
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby vtsnowedin » Sat 24 Dec 2016, 07:49:36

kiwichick wrote:@ V....no worries dude....i'm having trouble getting my head around it too.....but I can see how we can transition without collapsing our global economic system....not that I think it will be all plain sailing, but I do think its possible if we get our collective act together

Hope you and your family have a merry Xmas and that you have a fab 2017.......it's Christmas Day here ...1.04 am ...and i'm off to bed

And a Happy new year to you and yours! :)
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Re: A Critical Discussion the Limits to Renewable Energy Pt

Unread postby Newfie » Sun 25 Dec 2016, 21:07:58

The other forum I belong to is CrusersForum. There are a bunch of guys over ther who are real off grid nerds. Guys who either make a living at it or live by it. Guys who spend waaaay to much time thinking about this stuff.

If there were any major breakthroughs in technology then they would crop up over there. Sure there are the routine baloney announcements "fuel from water" and the like. But nothing breath taking.

A recent thread was devoted to how often you bring your battery banks to full charge. The bottom line is that all the fancy stuff takes tons of time and investment and a lot of study and interest. They have diesel generators, high output alternators, big solar arrays, wind power, smart controllers, monitors, and high end batteries with circuit boards built into the battery case. They are measuring the absorb toon rate to 0.5%.

In the end the most economical solution for most folks is to just buy inexpensive but good golf cart batteries and try to not ruin them too quick. Essentially right where we have been for 30-40 years.

Sure you can spend a ton of bucks for fancy high tech batteries and charging monitoring gear and worry it to death and you may come out a bit ahead on a 5 or 6 year cycle. If nothing breaks and needs replacement.

So if these guys can't find something to crow about I'm not getting very excited.
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