Newfie wrote:Here's a question I've never heard asked let alone answered.
Given the world resources what is the total combined storage capacity of batteries?
In other words, if you dedicated all the available resources to batteries, how much total storage could you come with AND what is the life span of that system?
I have 4 GC6 batteries in the big boat for a combined capacity of 430AH new. They last about 5 years. On average I really only have about half that power, 215AH available because the batteries are only infrequently fully charged and you don't want to run them down too far. I try to use my heaviest loads when it's windy and/sunny so I'm drawing straight off the wind gen or panels.
I'm assuming real world scaled systems would be similar.
So if we need 4 GC6 batteries for our fairly low energy life style for 2 people, 2 batteries per capita, then we would need about 15 billion batteries every 5 years for Earth's population, or 3 billion GC6 equivalents per year.
Assuming you can do much better on large scale, let's call it 1 billion GC 6 equivelents per year.
How long before we ran out of the capacity to build new batteries?
Assuming your math is correct and that dead (as in worn out or shorted out) batteries are all recycled to replace the new ones the industrial capacity should not be a problem. IMO the problem would be twofold, you would have to convince the average human being everywhere that a low energy battery sustained intermittent energy lifestyle was better than using cheap fossil energy and using a lot more power for appliances than your intermittent battery lifestyle would permit. For people without power that sounds great, but everyone in every city with a regular apartment anywhere already had line electric current, as does nearly all rural residents in Europe, North America and Australia plus a lot of the rural folks everywhere else. IOW the vast majority of humans already have line electricity and you have the difficult task of convincing them to give that up in favor of wind/solar and a low energy lifestyle. Even if you convince yourself that only 60 percent of humans now have line electricity that comes out to 4,500,000,000 humans who will all fight giving up that 'western' lifestyle in favor of wind/solar on the scale you are talking about.
Your only chance IMO would be to get that wind/solar/battery system installed on the people without access to line electricity first to remove the incentive to install the grid out to their wide scattered rural locations. Doing that would work all the bugs out of the system and teach you what needed to be done to improve the system and make it less expensive. You could then extend it to the rest of the rural population keeping their line electricity to produce night time power to offset cloudy and calm days when the solar and wind are not producing enough to charge the battery systems.
Even if you pull all that off however the world just a couple years ago passed the tipping point where more people live in cities than rural locations, and line electricity is the only practical way to power people in multi story structures even if that is supplemented with wind/solar in the margins. People move to the cities for work and amenities, one of the big amenities is clean water and another is line electricity.