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Are Concrete Blocks the Next Batteries?

Are Concrete Blocks the Next Batteries? thumbnail
energy vault youtube demo

Energy VaultYouTube
  • Energy storage is an increasingly large problem with renewable energy. Energy Vault wants to solve it by storing extra energy as potential energy in concrete blocks.
  • The company recently received a major investment from Japanese holding company SoftBank.
  • That money will allow Energy Vault to build its first full-scale prototypes.

In August 2019, the Japanese multinational holding firm SoftBank invested $110 million in Swiss company Energy Vault. It was a major boon for the company, which has a somewhat unique take on renewables: It stores potential energy through the use of stacked concrete blocks. Energy Vault will use the investment to build its first two full-scale models in Italy and India.

Energy Vault is only two years old, but has earned its investment through growing interest in energy storage. As renewables rise in use and their prices drop, energy storage is becoming increasingly crucial. Left to their own devices, energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines don’t run forever; solar panels can only produce electricity when the sun’s out, for example, while wind turbines only turn when there’s wind.

Enter storage methods like Energy Vault.

When solar panels in a field in Rome, for example, begin producing energy, they would siphon part of that energy off to a storage facility like Energy Vault. With that energy stored, the company could then run the energy when there was no wind or a cloudy day.

There are many ideas for renewable energy batteries. Energy Vault’s consists of an almost 400-foot tall, six-armed crane with custom-built concrete blocks weighing almost 35 metric tons each. As solar or wind energy is siphoned into an Energy Vault tower, an A.I. directs the concrete blocks to rise up. Then, according to the company’s website, the blocks are “returned to the ground and the kinetic energy generated from the falling brick is turned back into electricity.”

That kinetic energy then turns a motor, which passes through an inverter, sending the energy back into the grid. Energy Vault claims the process had a “round-trip efficiency between 80 to 90 [percent].”

Energy Vault says its tower design means it can scale up or down easily, based on a location’s needs. The company’s website discusses options of 20, 35, and 80 MWh storage capacity as well as anywhere between 4 to 8 MW of continuous power discharge for 8 to 16 hours. What drew investors to the idea in August was its simplicity.

“We at the Vision Fund want to come in when a technology is proven and it’s ready to scale. That’s what’s so exciting about this technology. It’s not a science problem. It’s fifth-grade physics,” said Akshay Naheta, a managing partner of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, at the time of the investment. “There will be teething problems with any new technology. But this is more of a scaling problem.”

The aspect of Energy Vault’s plan that’s most intriguing to potential investors is what’s known as long duration storage. The longer a storage facility can hold energy, the better. There’s no way to know what crises will hit any particular energy grid next, so if Energy Vault could store the energy for months, years, or even indefinitely (there are no time claims on the company’s website), then it would be exponentially valuable to utilities.

Of course, the company doesn’t even have its full-scale prototype built yet. But with SoftBank’s investment, that might change soon.

popular mechanics

93 Comments on "Are Concrete Blocks the Next Batteries?"

  1. makati1 on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:20 pm 

    No, Cloggie, we have not discussed this. You have just denied what rational thinkers already know. You have never proved you assertion. You pretend to be above everyone else because you claim to have some piece of paper saying you stayed awake in class and attended enough days to get that piece of paper, nothing more. A “degree” does not prove anything.

    Some of us have learned by living in the world and learning by doing. I learn new things every day. I also learned how to think when I went to school, something they do not teach now. Common sense is more important than any degree.

    Gail is totally correct in her assertion that renewables are not. You live in a very delusional world, Cloggie. Maybe you are a cousin of Delusional Davy, or on the same drugs?

    You can put down all of us who live in the real world, but you cannot change facts or events. I hope you are prepared to live in the world we see and not the one you wish for.

    BTW: YOU are the spreader of ‘false news’ and propaganda. I’m only pointing out daily events and real facts using real refs, not ads from windmill and solar salesmen.

  2. Cloggie on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:20 pm 

    The key to get the hydrogen released is using a suitable catalyst:

    Like platinum or palladium.

    Team Fast of TU-Eindhoven developed a new catalyst (which one apparently is a secret):

    We use formic acid to carry high amounts of energy. Under the influence of a catalyst, formic acid can be split into CO2 and H2. A new catalyst invented at the TU/e by the group of dr. Evgeny Pidko, sparked our interest in formic acid as an energy carrier. The catalyst we currently use was developed by dr. G. (Gábor) Laurenczy at the research group ISIC Group of Catalysis for Energy and Environment at the Institute of chemical sciences and engineering at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). This catalyst is much more stable than the old one and uses water as the solvent. Dr. Laurenczy developed a catalyst that merges hydrogen and CO2 into formic acid and vice versa, this was previously possible, but never this stable. Besides it being much more stable than the old one, it also uses water as the solvent. To produce the formic acid, energy is needed to bind the H2 (from the water) to the CO2. In our system, formic acid is converted to H2 and CO2.

  3. makati1 on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:21 pm 

    Cloggie, what is the real “NET” energy from that process and how will it scale up for real use? Proof please.

  4. Cloggie on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:28 pm 

    “BTW: YOU are the spreader of ‘false news’ and propaganda. I’m only pointing out daily events and real facts using real refs, not ads from windmill and solar salesmen.”

    You and davy are collapseniks, keen on seeing the world collapse. You hope that America goes under, empire dave hopes that the rest of the world goes under minus the US.


    My country Holland was on top in the world in the 17th century because of wooden sawing wind mills, with which they could produce planks at a rapid speed and construct a fleet three times that of the rest of the world combined.

    These wind mills were constructed WITHOUT A DROP OF FOSSIL FUEL. All made by hand. Sufficient to discover the entire planet.

    Are you denying that it is possible to produce fossil fuel from renewable electricity?

    “EU Helmeth Project – Power-to-Methane (75% Efficiency)”

    Dang! World view shattered. Not that makati will ever update his views, that’s way to painful. Makati is not interested in the truth. He is only interested in broadcasting his grandiose vision of global collapse (minus China of course, his beloved Asians. One wonders why that is. Asking the question is answering it).

  5. Cloggie on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:31 pm 

    “Cloggie, what is the real “NET” energy from that process and how will it scale up for real use? Proof please.”

    There you go:

    “Siemens Reports EROI Onshore Wind of 50 or Larger”

    “Energy Problems? What Energy Problems?”

    Thin film solar: too cheap to meter. Space and frame will eventually determine the cost, not the photo-active layer.

  6. claes on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:40 pm 

    clogg , allright you don’t know the first thing about the projects you are promoting.
    And what better defence is there than playing the gender card. Unless of course you got your self an ID-theft. Just like the rest of us.
    Sleep tight

  7. Cloggie on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:44 pm 

    “clogg , allright you don’t know the first thing about the projects you are promoting.”

    And what would that be?

  8. supremacist muzzies jerk on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:51 pm 

    mit scrubbed ofc. sean collier of all trace of muzzie going inner struggle.
    i found new reading material for tard research it’s called campus watch
    speaking of campus, muzzie akbar sayeed employed language consistent with muzzie supremacism when refering to infidels. this resulted in suicide of whitey supertard john brady.

    result: muzzie love increased 10000x. students are very angry and they will become supertards to kill more muzzies. but they are mentally prevented from discussing muzzies inner strugle.

    see for yourself above. muzzies injected poison into society, like a tick numbing you when they suck blood/jizya and you know nothing.

    i think the problem is our supertards are becomign supertard too young. i think we should send messages to whitey supertards that it’s ok to be a tard like me. while in college you should pursue useless liberal arts degree and failing.

    the price for becoming young whitey supertards is you may kill yourself because you don’t understand muzzie doctrine which akbar sayeed employed.

    students can not understand muzzie doctrine because it’s on another level.

    oh, btw. muzzie is dead “like a dog” so keep watch of all muzzies, they may go inner struggle.

  9. claes on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:54 pm 

    cloggie said:”And what would that be?”
    That would be: How is the hydrogene released from the hydrozine so it can feed the fuel cell, and what is the cost in energy to make that happen ?
    What kind of process releases the hydrogene from the hydrozene ?

  10. Duncan Idaho on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 7:00 pm 

    Isn’t that rocket fuel?

  11. Anonymouse on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 7:04 pm 

    Mak, Kloggkike has no technical background, training or education beyond high-school. You can ignore anything he says, or claims as his ‘credentials’ are a phony as anything else he has ever said.

    What he DOES have, is a Masters Degree in trolling, spamming, topic de-railment, and,
    general fraud.

    BTW, this one is for the EXCEPTIONAL-TARD. There is your stupid ‘engineer’, you inbred Missouri hick. Kloggkike all along. I never claimed, or stated I was any kind ‘engineer’; failed or otherwise at any point.

    KloggYid OTOH, is, and always has been, your ‘ failed engineer’ (at least that part is truthful, perhaps the only accurate thing you have every stated here, and NOW he is a ‘Certified physicists’ as well, no less.

    Credential inflation ftw, right kloggedrectum?

    From the YIDs mouth at 6:08

    “It is a typical layman’s opinion. Certified physicists like Antius and myself have a little head start over non-engineers like you.”

    So there you have it Davyturd.

    Go harp on Kloggfraud now for being a both a failed ‘Certified physicist’ and a failed engineer for a few years now that you got it strait in the pee brain of yours. Try to remember who the ‘failed engineer’ actually is this time ok? Write it down somewhere in your ‘documents’ if it helps.


    That goes for both of you btw. In case you were feeling left out Kloggjude.

  12. supremacist muzzie jerk on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 7:16 pm 

    Anonymouse on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 7:04 pm
    anontard, i appoint you a supertard for you persistent attack on supertard.
    please be respectful toward supertard

    as for supertard Cloggie, his education didn’t include modern physics. he claimed nukular doesn’t exist and it’s an invention by (((supertards))).

    i’m just a tard but I have a liberal arts degree. i wasn’t a good student either.

  13. claes on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 7:17 pm 

    Duncan, there seems to be a difference betwene hydrozine and hydrazine, The last being an option for fighters that couldn’t get their engines started after a stall.

  14. Davy on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 7:28 pm 

    “I never claimed, or stated I was any kind ‘engineer’; failed or otherwise at any point.”

    Annoymouse, you definitely are a failure and since you are a failure it doesn’t matter what you are. I wish I could find the feed when Ape man ripped you a new asshole and you whined for a week. You adored Ape man and he when he turned on you for your stupid Jew bating you were gut shot. It was such a good take down I almost saved it. LMFAO

  15. claes on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 7:35 pm 

    DUNCAN ,Hydrazine is a wery powerfull fuel that figther jets used in emergency situations.
    It’s toxic and cancerogene and it is not the same as hydrozine.

  16. makati1 on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 7:51 pm 

    Yes, Anon, Cloggie is obviously a fraud. he is on here almost 24/7 with his rants and bullshit. I even question his age. He seems to represent the typical deluded, dumbed down, brainwashed Westerner.

    Arguing about a substance that will not scale up profitably is a waste of time and brain use. But then, that is true of all “renewables”. If they were net energy efficient, they would be everywhere. I read more and more about their subsidies being discontinued because they are proving to be a money pit.

    I see the current BAU system winding down to a much lower level over the next decade, if not disintegrating totally. What would follow that disintegration is unknown, but it will not be Cloggie’s dream nor any positive resemblance of today. Only time will tell.

    Almost 9AM Wednesday morning here. 25C (77F) and raining. This is the time of year that I am glad I do not live on the US. The weather there has been crazy.

  17. Davy on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 8:23 pm 

    Hay y’all. Did I mention I am spending less time on this lame unmoderated forum to concentrate on my own blog?

    I failed at that to.

    I’m such A dumbass I make REAL Retarded dumbasses look lurned.


  18. supremacist muzzies jerk on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 8:48 pm 

    Davy on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 8:23 pm
    Supertard anon
    Please be respectful toward supertard

  19. Anonymouse on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 9:24 pm 

    And I wish you could find two even partially functioning brain cells in that diseased, delusional cranium of yours that they might co-ordinate their efforts in some way. Having 2 brain cells working in unison would represent a real breakthrough for you, prick-face.


    Complete loser.

  20. Cloggie on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 2:40 am 

    “That would be: How is the hydrogene released from the hydrozine so it can feed the fuel cell, and what is the cost in energy to make that happen ?
    What kind of process releases the hydrogene from the hydrozene ?”

    I gave you the answer here:

    “Cloggie on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 6:20 pm”

    There are no more details available, not that I could find in a few minutes. Probably for patent reasons.

  21. Cloggie on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 2:45 am 

    Perhaps the students from FAST were using this:


    The catalytic activity of Au/Al2O3 for the hydrogenation of CO2 to formic acid (FA) was evaluated. We found that metal–support interactions were crucial for gold nanoparticles to exhibit any catalytic activity since unsupported gold nanoparticles yielded no FA. Thermal pretreatment of Au/Al2O3 had a minor
    impact on the activity, with samples pretreated at 300 °C exhibiting the highest
    activity independent of reductive or oxidative conditions. In contrast, the
    performance of the system was strongly impacted by the solvent/base composition, with DMF/NEt3 systems giving higher activity than systems with less polar solvents (ethanol and THF), or with stronger organic bases (DBU).

    Our system followed first order kinetics with respect to Au/Al2O3 loading and
    showed zero order dependency on H2 or CO2 partial pressures. Performing this
    reaction between 55-100 °C indicated that the system to have no activation
    barrier, with higher formate yields obtained at lower temperatures without activity loss. FTIR measurements proposed formate species to be on the surface as potential intermediates. Cyanide leaching successfully removed all Au0, and the catalyst’s subsequent inactivity indicated that supported metallic Au0 was the active species in our system.

    So perhaps a gold-aluminium-oxide catalyst.

  22. Give the man a prize on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 3:39 am 

    AMEN Anonymouse.

    Problem is there’s no fixing stupid.

  23. JuanP ID theft and socks on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 4:15 am 

    This is from stupid last night:

    supremacist muzzies jerk said Davy on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 8:23 pm Supertard anon…

    Davy said Hay y’all. Did I mention I am spending less time o…

    Davy said “I never claimed, or stated I was any kind ‘…

    supremacist muzzie jerk said Anonymouse on Tue, 29th Oct 2019 7:04 pm anontard,…

    Give the man a prize said AMEN Anonymouse. Problem is there’s no fixin…

  24. Davy on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 5:41 am 

    Did. I mention I want my mommy?

    I think I might of.


  25. JuanP ID theft on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:05 am 

    Morning stupid I see you are up. You didn’t get much sleep last night:

    “Davy said Did. I mention I want my mommy? I think I might of…”

  26. Davy on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:06 am 

    “Iran’s thirsty energy industry runs up against water shortage” reuters

    “The plan to build a petrochemical plant near the Iranian city of Firouzabad had everything usually needed to get a project off the ground: approval from the nation’s top authority, funding from the Revolutionary Guards and plentiful gas feedstock. But a decade on, work at the site is only 10% complete because of a row over an increasingly scarce resource in Iran that is vital to keep the facility cool: water. “In early project studies, there were some mistakes about the amount of water the plant would need,” said Hamidreza Soleymannejad, one of the plant’s project managers. “They found the plant needs a lot of water, but the region could not provide that.” The fate of the Firouzabad plant is not unique in Iran, even though the nation has huge oil and gas reserves and is eager to expand output of downstream products which can more easily evade crippling U.S. sanctions on its vital energy industry. At least a dozen petrochemical, fertilizer and refinery projects, with combined capacity to produce more than 5 million tonnes a year of products, have hit the buffers or been delayed due to water supply problems, according to a Reuters assessment.”

  27. Davy on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:06 am 

    “Government open to take over water operations amid shortage” philstar

    “MANILA, Philippines — The government may take over the operations of private water concessionaires when public interest requires it, Malacañang said yesterday, as Metro Manila continues to grapple with its second water shortage this year…Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo confirmed that President Duterte was referring to a government takeover of water utilities when he talked about assuming control of water supply operations… Last Monday, Duterte floated the possibility of taking over water-related operations to solve the water shortage in Metro Manila, which was caused by the drop in the water levels in Angat and Ipo dams… The President has also expressed readiness to use his “extraordinary powers” to implement the China-funded Kaliwa Dam, which some groups claimed would displace communities and damage the environment. The P12.2-billion Kaliwa Dam is envisioned to become a major water source for Metro Manila and is one of the government projects funded by Chinese loans.”

  28. Davy on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:06 am 

    “Everything you need to know about the ‘water crisis’ in SA” Harold live

    “At a briefing on Monday, she said the water shortage was a result of high temperatures and very low rainfall. Here’s what you need to know: What is happening? Sisulu said dam levels were low due to poor rainfall. “We are experiencing what we call ‘water stress’. We are facing hard realities now and have to immediately begin to disaster-proof SA.” She urged South Africans to use water sparingly or face catastrophic consequences.”

  29. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:07 am 

    “River of Trash” intercept

    “As I step onto shore, I notice more bits of plastic lying among the reeds, half-buried in the mud, as well as stained scraps of cloth, bits of packing foam, a single cracked plastic sandal. Just beyond, Guatemala’s Motagua River pours into the Caribbean, carrying with it a daily freight of trash washed out of overcrowded city dumps and unofficial landfills hundreds of miles upstream. Worldwide, an estimated 80 percent of ocean plastic comes from land as “mismanaged waste.” Indeed, in Guatemala, there are almost no properly managed landfills and virtually no public water treatment plants. The result is a noxious chowder of sewage, industrial and agricultural runoff, and an ever-replenished flotilla of plastic trash, churning out from the river mouth toward the massive Mesoamerican reef, which has long supported rich biodiversity and fishing communities from Cancún to Nicaragua. Now, the beaches here and in neighboring Honduras are regularly buried in artificial tidewrack of toothbrushes, makeup containers, old syringes and bottles of IV fluid, action figures, streamers of plastic film, and foil chip bags.”

  30. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:08 am 

    “Chill Your Netflix Habit, Climate Experts Say” ibtimes

    “Movie nights once required driving to the local video store to rent, rewind and return the latest blockbuster. Now on-demand video content providers offer countless binge-worthy options at the touch of a finger. But experts say the ease of streaming services comes with a hefty environmental price tag. Watching a half-hour show would lead to emissions of 1.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent, said Maxime Efoui-Hess of French think tank the Shift Project. That’s equivalent to driving 3.9 miles (6.28 kilometres). Last year, online video streaming produced emissions equivalent to Spain and that amount may double in the next six years, according to the Shift Project. While most of the online traffic — 34 percent — is related to streaming videos, on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, for example, the next biggest sector is online porn.”

  31. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:09 am 

    “How The Internet Is Killing The Planet” oil price graph

    “Beyond the painfully obvious plight of a planet addicted to fossil fuels, climate change has another bogeyman that few–with the possible exception of Keanu Reeves–would be willing to give up. Yet, it’s responsible for a huge chunk of our global greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, by 2025, it could be responsible for a staggering 20 percent of global electricity consumption and up to 5.5 percent of all carbon emissions. And you’re doing it right now. That bogeyman is the Internet of Things (IoT) and the tsunami of data it must power. Academics are challenging the notion that we can considerably reduce carbon emissions by increasing efficiency and cutting down on waste. In fact, they warn that the internet explosion and increasing connectivity via the IoT and smart devices could increase global emissions by 3.5 percent by 2020 and up to 14 percent by 2040.”

  32. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:09 am 


    “Providing health care when electricity isn’t a guarantee…The United States health care system depends on electricity to function normally: it needs power to run everything from ventilators to electronic health records, to ferry patients via elevator through hospitals, refrigerate medications, and countless other tasks. But that PG&E planned outage wasn’t the last. There were more outages last week, and they are likely to become more frequent as the changing climate keeps California dry and makes fires more likely. The number of weather-related power outages is also increasing as extreme weather events become more common. As a result, it’s more critical than ever that health care facilities are prepared for a present and future where power isn’t a guarantee. “We’re so used to having an uninterrupted supply of power,” says Grete Porteous, an anesthesiologist and emergency medicine specialist at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle. “It really blows people’s minds to understand that all of this is very fragile.”

  33. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:10 am 

    “China’s ocean waste dumping at highest level in at least a decade, with 27 per cent surge in 2018” scmp

    “China’s coastal waters have seen a surge in waste, with plastic making up more than 80 per cent of floating rubbish. Photo: AFPA scrap collector sorts plastic waste at a garbage dump in Shanghai. China’s coastal waters have seen a surge in waste, with plastic making up more than 80 per cent of floating rubbish. China’s coastal waters have seen a surge in waste, with plastic making up more than 80 per cent of floating rubbish. The amount of waste dumped into China’s coastal waters increased to its highest level in at least a decade in 2018, to a total of 200.7 million cubic metres – a 27 per cent rise on the previous year, the country’s environment ministry said on Tuesday. Most of the waste was dumped in the delta regions of the Yangtze and Pearl rivers, both major industrial zones on China’s eastern coast, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) said. “At the moment, there are some clear problems with the work on the marine ecological environment, with some regions not showing a lot of awareness or paying sufficient attention, and lacking strong initiative and dedication,” Huo Chuanlin, deputy director of the MEE’s marine environment department, said at a briefing in Beijing. Environmental groups have expressed concern that China, desperate to clean up its rivers, is dumping increasing amounts of trash in its seas instead.”

  34. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:11 am 

    “Half a billion on Halloween pet costumes is latest sign of America’s out-of-control consumerism” conversation

    “Halloween spending is out of control. Americans are expected to spend US$8.8 billion on candy, costumes and decorations this year – or $86 for every person who plans to celebrate. That includes a half a billion dollars on costumes that Americans are buying for their pets, which is double the amount they spent a decade ago. Pumpkins and hot dogs are the favorites. How did a holiday that began as a way to honor the dead morph into just another ritual of over-the-top American consumption? As a relatively frugal person who has reused the same Halloween costumes for years, I found the $86 figure shocking. But I’m hardly the first economist to moan about out-of-control consumerism.”

  35. Davy on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:11 am 

    I referenced the above stories because they have nothing at all to do with the artical we were debating.


  36. JuanP stupidity on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:12 am 

    JuanP troll that bitch with your mindless socks and ID theft

  37. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:16 am 

    Sorry y’all. I’m on a copyin and pastin binge this morning. It’s all part of my widdle mental excersizes.

  38. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:23 am 

    “The village that undergoes a mass exodus every autumn” bbc video

    “Every year during the autumn months, a village in Kyrgyzstan undergoes a mass exodus. Around 3,000 families move into the forest for over two months to undertake the world’s most unique harvest.”

  39. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:32 am 

    “I Love Spam Madly, Deeply, Unironically” lenny

    “I am skilled at classical French cooking. I have a Higher Certificate from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. I also, however, love Spam. (In case you were wondering, Spam pairs well with Gewürztraminer.) I kept kosher for a few years (long story). When I broke away from the dietary laws — because I was quitting smoking and could not maintain so many forms of self-abnegation at once — the food item I cheated with was Spam. It symbolizes both the part of me that is Korean and the part of me that is American — two identities that are difficult to unite. More important, I associate Spam with relaxation, being present, and not worrying about what you can’t control. Why? Because Spam evokes beaches, pineapples, funny tropical shirts: i.e., Hawaii. It’s the one place in the world where I can be un-stressed-out, and it happens to be the only U.S. state that loves Spam as much as I do. Mainland Americans have given me no end of grief for this. First rule of Spam Club: You never talk about Spam Club. Otherwise, you risk social death. Case in point: When I was at university, my friend Mike told me that his freshman-year roommate threw out Mike’s Spam and gave him $5 to cover the cost. But Mike and I both had a really good excuse for this embarrassing proclivity: We’re of Korean extraction, and Korea is the world’s largest consumer of Spam outside the United States. How did Korea become hooked on the laughingstock of all supermarket products? The meat that was so ridiculous that Monty Python created not only a sketch around it but an entire Broadway musical? A bit of history: Spam has been manufactured by the Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Foods Corporation since 1937. It became widespread in Korea during and after the Korean War (1950 to 1953), when the U.S. government shipped loads of Spam to Korea, at a time when fresh meat was hard to come by. Korea was by no means the only beneficiary of this largesse; during and after WWII, the U.K. also turned to Spam to supplement monthly meat rations. In fact, articles on Spam’s role in wartime Britain bear titles such as “Spam: Did It Save the Nation?” (Here are some nostalgic British WWII-era Spam recipes.) Unlike the U.K., however, where they poke fun at Spam, Korean Spam consumption was unironic. While modern-day Brits no longer regularly eat Spam, it has remained part of the diet in Korea. In September 2017, Korean sales of Spam reached 1 billion tins. And Spam’s Korean co-distributor, Cheil Jedang, announced in January that its top-selling New Year gift box was Spam. In my day, the tins were usually packed in velvet-lined boxes and wrapped in white satin ribbon. Spam is an important part of Korean home cooking. It’s the sine qua non ingredient of kimchi jjigae (stewed kimchi) and budae jjigae — literally “army stew.” My mother, a biochemist with a particular fear of foodborne illnesses, was virulently anti-pork, making it sound like a veritable menagerie of revolting organisms — trichinosis, tapeworm, hepatitis, all reproducing at exponential rates. Yet we always had Spam in our pantry. Apparently Koreans are now accepting their love of the lowbrow: David Chang, the Michelin-starred Korean-American chef, is extolling Spam. Spam’s enduring popularity in Korea surprises me, because I had assumed Koreans were now prosperous enough to abandon any food item that you need a key to open. This is a common phenomenon, though — hardship habits die hard. Some Germans raised on the substitute coffee product “Ersatzkaffee” — either during the Second World War or subsequently in the former GDR — occasionally used the bad stuff over real coffee much longer than was necessary. Wartime food is a symbol of survival.“

    I needed the real thing. The healthy versions are not nearly salty or greasy enough, and the salt and grease are precisely why Spam goes so well with rice. By far the most common form in which I’ve eaten Spam is in the form of kimbap. Imagine maki rolls — the kind of sushi that is rolled into logs and cut into small cylinders — but instead of fish, they contain vegetables, a thin omelet cut into strips, and, in our house, Spam.”

  40. REAL Green on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 6:39 am 

    Do any of y’all know how long a goat kin go without food or water? Mines been makin funny noises lately.

  41. The Gang on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 7:09 am 

    Davy My Dear,

    Good Morning Little Ms. Sunshine,

    You poor thing, looks like we woke up on the wrong side of the bed today or is it just a bad case of the Wednesday’s?

    Let’s make today an official Happy Camper Day.

    Give our love to your fatty golden boy with the adorable pubic hair transplant. After all, birds of a feather flock together.

    With much affection,

    The Gang

  42. JuanP ID theft and socks on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 7:48 am 

    stupid, is that the best trolling you can do? You are getting more stupid. Must be because you are 3rd world and only have a GED.

    The Gang said Davy My Dear, Good Morning Little Ms. Sunshine, Yo…

    REAL Green said Do any of y’all know how long a goat kin go withou…

    REAL Green said “I Love Spam Madly, Deeply, Unironically” https://

    REAL Green said Sorry y’all. I’m on a copyin and pastin binge this…

    Davy said I referenced the above stories because they have n…

  43. Davy on Wed, 30th Oct 2019 10:24 am 

    In case y’all forgot. I am spending less time on this lame unmoderated forum to concentrate on my own blog. I do want to thank all those who have attacked me with giving me material for growth. Many thanks for contributing to my metamorphous. Without y’all I’d even be a bigger loser then I still am.

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