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Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby sparky » Fri 31 Mar 2017, 05:06:27

.
An interesting test of renewables would be if it is profitable for a company solely to store energy during peak production
to sell it later at a profit during peak price
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 31 Mar 2017, 11:25:02

Monkey - Thanks for the details. So: "The project includes a 330 megawatt solar farm costing $700 million and a 100MW battery with four hours of storage – or 400MWh capacity." First question: what does the battery cost? Second, if it only stores 4 hours worth are the going to use it for nighttime supply even if there's no blackout? If it is only going to be held in reserve do you think that cost/insurance premium is worth it? And if the do run a complete cycle a night that will greatly reduce the life of the system: how long be it has to be replaced and at what cost?

As I've pointed out before: waiting for a economically justified storage system to handle the intermittent problem would have delayed the Texas building of our world class wind power. Using our existing fossil fuel fired generators cost us nothing. Likewise solar is starting to boom in Texas. The sun sets here as it does in most countries but the wind can blow at night. And if it doesn't on some nights we still have our ff burners on standby.

Eventually if battery systems become viable we'll already have significant alt energy infrastructure in place. If our alt energy systems were good investments as stand-alones think how much better it will be when we can go to the batteries instead of burning more NG and lignite.

As been said before: waiting for the "perfect solution" is the enemy of the imperfect but incremental improvement.

sparky - "An interesting test of renewables would be if it is profitable for a company solely to store energy during peak production to sell it later at a profit during peak price". Perhaps an even better test: are the renewables profitable without storage? If they are think of the improvement when large scale storage becomes economical.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby Zarquon » Fri 31 Mar 2017, 12:40:18

ROCKMAN wrote:And if the do run a complete cycle a night that will greatly reduce the life of the system: how long be it has to be replaced and at what cost?


I don't know what type of battery is going to be used there, but certainly nothing like lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries. Probably something like these (which the Aussies themselves developed in the 80's):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanadium_redox_battery

"The limited self-discharge characteristics of vanadium redox batteries make them useful in applications where the batteries must be stored for long periods of time with little maintenance while maintaining a ready state.
...
Their ability to fully cycle and stay at 0% state of charge makes them suitable for solar + storage applications where the battery must start each day empty and fill up depending upon the load and weather. Lithium Ion batteries, for example, are typically damaged when they are allowed to discharge below 20% state of charge, so they typically only operate between about 20% and 100%, meaning they are only using 80% of their nameplate capacity."
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Fri 31 Mar 2017, 12:53:37

Z - Good poop...mucho thanks. One of the reasons the Rockman hangs out: someone usually knows something worth reading.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Fri 31 Mar 2017, 14:24:18

My personal contribution: seeking "large-scale energy storage" is doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. Modern technology includes heat pumps for HVAC and domestic hot water. It includes LED lighting and efficient electric motors managed with solid-state controls. It includes extremely power-efficient electronics, a good portion of it battery powered.

The electric grid is obsolete, because the infrastructure attached to the grid is obsolete. I have said more than once in this forum that my professional opinion - as an EE with 36 years of work experience - is that all Americans can have a lifestyle very similar to the energy-intensive lifestyle they possess today, using 1/6th the grid power that we use today.

It won't happen overnight. The necessary changes will include abandoning and salvaging materials from the least efficient portion of the grid, which is the last mile between a hugh tension grid feed and consumers - mostly the rural consumers. It will include implementing new distributed power generation - wind and solar and a limited hydro, plus efficient batteries - for such consumers, as a first priority. Second priority would be to do similar things in the suburbs, where depending upon actual local population density and consumer preferences, the consumers could choose between on-grid and off-grid living. In urban enviroinments, we use the power grid, supplemented by wind and solar where possible.

In everything that we do, we consider power consumption. A good amount of the power we use for lighting is actually being squandered to no good purpose, for example - security systems exist which can monitor an area using infrared optics, and turn on the lights and sound the alarm when intruders are present. Cars should also be equipped with supplementary sensors (of several types) to eliminate street lighting except in areas where there are pedestrians.

Buildings should be required to meet the current energy standards every 50 years, with no grandfathered energy-hog structures. This is not a major expense over what we build today, and within the first 50 years, all structures will have gotten super-insulation, new energy-efficient glazing, active/passive solar features - or will have been torn down and replaced with newer more efficient buildings.

We can do this. We can evolve the grid we have into a power grid suitable to serve the new infrastructure I just described. Until then, we need to abandon all thoughts of "large-scale energy storage", because it is an obsolete idea, aimed at the obsolete goal of preserving our current energy-hog lifestyles.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby Zarquon » Fri 31 Mar 2017, 17:03:24

I agree about the energy-hog lifestyle, but there's one thing that's slowly beginning to irk me: where ever there's a debate about energy, alt-energy, conversation, etc., it's always about households. Doesn't take a minute before somebody mentions the number of power plants we'll make obsolete by all the LEDs in our living rooms. Households, households, households. Fine. It's just that households consume a mere third of our electricity (roughly similar numbers here in Europe).

And the biggest energy hogs of all are not the ancient light bulbs in our living rooms. It's the big industrial users - especially the biggest ones who should know perfectly well how big their potential for conservation is. Incidentally they're also the ones who can bargain for the lowest electricity prices and thus have the lowest incentive to reduce consumption.

And then you have yet another discussion where two thirds of the issue are not even mentioned. Practically never. It's all about the bloody LED in the living room. For politicians and pundits it's yet another third rail. Mention the other two thirds of the issue and out comes the "job killer" club. Better pretend they don't exist.

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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby sparky » Fri 31 Mar 2017, 17:33:48

.
" the biggest energy hogs of all are not the ancient light bulbs in our living rooms. It's the big industrial users - "
" the issue are not even mentioned. Practically never. It's all about the bloody LED in the living room"

Certainly the whole discussion is about petty selfish lifestyle
there is a world out there factories ,manufacturing , distribution
it all get ignored like if individual household were the only reality

A large factory need constant , reliable power it take less than a tenth of a second to crash it and hours to restart
industry is very aware of its costs , they are carefully monitored , they get bulk price because they are bulk users
a large part of the cost for individuals are the cost of individual distribution

of course some people do not want industry or large users ,
their idea of society is not very clear but it does seems to involve little gardens ,a smithy and people wearing homespun

I have never read or heard a proponent of the alternative lifestyle have a coherent proposition for large industries
the issue is simply swept under the carpet
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 12:31:12

From time to time we have discussed vanadium redox-flow batteries (VRFB), a promising technology that has actually been around for decades. The news is that Rongke Power in Northern China has VRFB's in volume production in yet another facility dubbed a "gigafactory".
https://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/fuel-cells/its-big-and-longlived-and-it-wont-catch-fire-the-vanadium-redoxflow-battery
The other news is that the early production has been devoted to building a single large utility grid battery with 800MWH capacity that is under construction now and will go online in 2018, the world's largest battery.
https://www.engineering.com/DesignerEdge/DesignerEdgeArticles/ArticleID/12312/Massive-800-MegaWatt-hour-Battery-to-Be-Deployed-in-China.aspx

I have modified my thinking somewhat on this topic. Renewable energy is by it's very nature distributed and must be collected over large areas, whether we are talkiing solar or wind. Utility-scale batteries for cities and manufacturing sites make sense. I still feel that rural areas are best served with small scale power plants and no grid connections, and smaller storage batteries.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 12:58:58

"I still feel that rural areas are best served with small scale power plants and no grid connections, and smaller storage batteries." Not sure how efficient that would be. Brewster Co, Texas covers about 6,200 sq miles with a population density of just 1.5/sq. mile. But it's connected to the grid that is fed by numerous nearby wind farms. It's also close to a new grid scale battery system (two 10 MW) being built by E.ON that will be fed by nearby wind farms it owns. And then there's Kennedy Co, in south Texas, that's worse: only 0.3 people per sq miles but is just down the road from one of the largest wind farms in the state.

And both Webster and Kennedy counties were already connected to the grid. Perhaps your idea makes sense where a rural area isn't connected to the grid in the first place. But as big as Texas is I know of no such area here. Maybe Alaska fits better.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 14:14:35

What I am talking about is outside-the-box thinking. The most expensive to connect and service are the small rural customers. Today it is possible to connect a small farm to a $25K solar PV array or wind turbine with a battery. The alternative connection is a creosote-impregnated wooden pole every 500 feet or so at $10k apiece, plus a $15k pole transformer and meter/switchgear which represents installed cost and 30-years maintenance.

The break even point is less than 1/4 mile of poles, and both alternatives will require maintenance and periodic replacement over 30 years. The poles deteriorate from the day erected and the batteries from the first day of service. Perhaps you go through two sets of batteries in 30 years.

The gray areas are where residences and businesses are already existing and already connected to the power grid. The major expenses are already paid, there is little incentive to switch. But for new customers, a no-brainer.

It's an apples/oranges comparison, because the power poles come with a monthly power bill, and the renewable energy and battery may well have zero expenses for a decade or more after install, and no monthly bill. Even tax codes enter into it, because a solar roof can be bundled into the mortgage payment, in addition to qualifying the homeowner for renewable energy rebates that might offset half the install cost.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby GHung » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 14:52:51

Vanadium redox flow battery; how they work:

https://youtu.be/AagO07cHRG8
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 15:18:34

Nice video. From an EE perspective, VRFB's are nice because:

1) Storage capacity (total amount of power stored) can be increased by increasing the tank size to hold more vanadium salts.

2) Power production capacity (maximum amount of power produced) can be increased by adding additional cells and smart inverters.

3) The cells can be "throttled up" from zero to full output in a few milliseconds, largely eliminating the intermittency problems with both wind and solar renewable power sources.

4) 10X (at least) the number of charge/discharge cycles as lithium ion cells, with no constraints on deep discharge.

There are really no major downsides. The mild dilute hydrochloric acid solutions that transport the liquid salts are easily pumped with inexpensive plastic plumbing and impellers, and are generally little more corrosive than swimming pool chemicals. There is a small amount of parasitic power to run these pumps, and the typical plastic plumbing leaks must be addressed and resolved promptly.

The VRFB technology is best suited to utility scale batteries, and both vehicles and residences are best suited to Lithium Ion batteries.

The only bad news: The plastic plumbing and pumps are produced from petrochemical feedstocks. As are large portions of automobiles, wind turbines, solar panels, and even the heavy trucks and mining machinery that produce uranium. It's still the case that Peak Oil will really really hurt when it bites us.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby GHung » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 15:42:38

KJ; "The VRFB technology is best suited to utility scale batteries, and both vehicles and residences are best suited to Lithium Ion batteries."

Not really. There is a lot of interest in using these for residential scale storage in Australia. These guys in Turkey (who made the video) are looking at smaller scale as well as grid scale storage: http://www.schmid-pekintas.com/energy-storage.php

Compact Storage:
The solution for small power applications: Compact design and small footprint for easy building installation in laboratories, residential applications or telecommunications.


As for plastic pipes and pumps, properly installed PVC should outlast the battery set, by far, if not exposed to UV.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 19:34:22

Smaller scale applications are much further away IMHO. Lithium Ion was not practical at all until we had inexpensive charge controllers to manage individual cells. The software was a long time coming. I believe we are a ways off from having the acid-resistent sensors and the software to manage VRFB's. That's why utility scale (with human onsite managers) makes sense today, and after we automate VRFB management, smaller batteries may make sense tomorrow.

The whole idea of vanadium salt spills and how toxic they are and how they get cleaned up also deserves attention, for vehicle uses - human drivers still do stupid things that result in collisions.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby GHung » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 19:52:23

VRFBs are a lot more forgiving than lithium ion, more like lead-acid batteries, if not more so. Charging control is likely similar. And the solution used in the link I posted is a very diluted sulfuric acid/vanadium solution. Nothing extreme there.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby KaiserJeep » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 20:01:52

No, flow batteries with pumps and holding tanks are nothing like simple lead-acid cells. Vanadium systemic toxicity is generally lower than lead or other heavy metals, but the pentoxide of vanadium is a severe irritant, especially as a powder, and powders are commonly formed when the electrolyte solutions dry upon exposure to air. It all depends upon the battery and charger physical design and the software. Small VRFB designs are crude and preliminary, and the software is nonexistent.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby GHung » Mon 06 Nov 2017, 20:32:56

KaiserJeep wrote:No, flow batteries with pumps and holding tanks are nothing like simple lead-acid cells. Vanadium systemic toxicity is generally lower than lead or other heavy metals, but the pentoxide of vanadium is a severe irritant, especially as a powder, and powders are commonly formed when the electrolyte solutions dry upon exposure to air. It all depends upon the battery and charger physical design and the software. Small VRFB designs are crude and preliminary, and the software is nonexistent.


I never said they were physically similar. I meant that the risks from electrolyte are about the same. Indeed, having the holding tanks to store electrolyte seems safe and convenient. I deduce that the charging characteristics are technically on the same level as well. Even lead-acids can be charged to the point of exposing the plates leading to a fire risk. Unlikely with flow batteries.
I know you're a techno-snob who wants to turn everything into rocket science, but I see this technology as lending itself to a few very solvable problems.
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby EdwinSm » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 04:18:40

A bit of good news for Tesla (and they need it), the 100 MW battery in South Australia is ready to go, within the 100 days limit Musk gave.

Tesla has finished installing the world's biggest lithium-ion battery and will switch it on over the coming days.

The 100-megawatt battery in South Australia is designed to provide security to the state's electricity grid.

It will store enough energy to power 30,000 homes for about an hour.

Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk had said the battery would be free if it was not installed within 100 days of signing a contract for the project.

It appears the company will meet the 1 December deadline for installation of the battery array, which will be connected to a wind farm run by French renewable energy company Neoen.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42090991
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Re: Prospects for large-scale energy storage

Unread postby baha » Thu 23 Nov 2017, 04:52:31

I am impressed, Elon is The Man.

I support this technology but I hope that ON switch is at least a mile away :)

Just for shits and giggles...100 MWhrs = 86 tons of TNT
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