The Anonymous Widower

History And Future Of The Compressed Air Economy

A reader in Canada has sent me a link to this article on Low Tech Magazine, which has the same title as this post.

This is the introductory sub-title.

Historical compressed air systems hold the key to the design of a low-tech, low-cost, robust, sustainable and relatively energy efficient energy storage medium.

As regular readers of this blog, will have noticed, I regularly post about a company called Highview Power.

This is the introduction from the Wikipedia entry for Highview Power.

Highview Power is a long-duration energy storage pioneer, specialising in cryogenic energy storage. It is based in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has permission for a commercial-scale 50 Megawatt/250 Megawatt-hour plant in England, building upon its earlier 5 Megawatt and 350 Kilowatt pilot plants. It plans to develop a 50MW plant/400MWh (eight hours of storage) in Vermont.

It has over 30 patents developed in partnership with British universities and has won technology funding from the British Government.

In February 2020 Sumitomo Heavy Industries invested $46m in the company.

The article on Low Tech Magazine gives the history of compressed air energy storage (CAES) and is a good background to the subject.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Australia’s New Community Solar, Solar-Storage, ‘Solar Hydro’ And Solar Hydrogen Projects

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Energy Storage News.

This is the introductory paragraph.

In the past couple of weeks, national and state government organisations in Australia have announced various stages of consideration for solar projects with a range of advanced and innovative storage solutions attached.

The article then goes on to describe some projects.

RayGen’s PV Ultra System

This paragraph describes the PV Ultra system.

The fully dispatchable power plant would use RayGen’s own technology PV Ultra, which is a combination of photovoltaic (PV) solar generation with the more expensive and engineering-intensive concentrated solar technology using angled mirror towers (heliostats). The PV Ultra system would generate both electricity and heat.

It’s obviously using what Australia has a lot of; sun to advantage.

RayGen’s Innovative Thermal Storage

This paragraph outlines the principle of RayGen’s thermal method of storage.

This generation technology would in turn be co-located and connected to a ‘Thermal Hydro’ energy storage facility, with 17 hours of storage, which again is based on a technology RayGen is developing. Unlike pumped hydro energy storage which uses two reservoirs at different heights, relying on gravity to drive turbines, the Thermal Hydro plant would use a hot reservoir and a cold reservoir, linked together.

The principle of operation is described in this second paragraph.

The PV Ultra solution will therefore cool one reservoir using photovoltaic power and grid power when needed, while also heating the other reservoir using the heliostats. The difference in temperature would then generate electricity, via an Organic Rankine Cycle engine, a device which uses thermodynamic cycles to convert steam into mechanical energy and is widely used for biomass, waste incinerators and other existing generation types.

The article states that an Organic Rankine cycle engine has an efficiency of about seventy percent. I have linked to Wikipedia, which gives a good explanation of the Organic Rankine cycle, which is typically used in waste heat recovery and biomass power plants.

RayGen’s Flagship Project

RayGen’s flagship project will be rated at 4 MW, with a storage capacity of 50 MWh. It will be used to provide power in the West Murray region.

 

New South Wales Community Projects

The article then describes a group of community projects that are being set up in New South Wales.

This is the introductory paragraph

Elsewhere in Australia, the government of New South Wales approved grants earlier this month to assist the development of seven solar projects, all but one of which will include energy storage. Notably, five out of the seven will also be community distributed energy projects, including one standalone shared battery energy storage site.

Some points from the article include.

  • The total solar power is rated at 17.2 MW.
  • The energy storage is rated at 39.2 MWh
  • One site is co-located with hydrogen electrolysis and storage,

New South Wales has certainly launched an ambitious plan.

Conclusion

I like RayGen’s system and the New South Wales initiative.

I also think, that both projects could find applications in some of the hotter places in the world.

Could solar power systems like these solve power supply problems in Africa, India and other sun-rich places>

 

 

March 26, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Glorious Sight In Marks And Spencer In Dalston

I get through almost a dozen bottles of Adnams 0.5% alcohol beer in a week

Marks And Spencer in Dalston has both varieties.

As my body says the beers are gluten-free, I am grateful for small mercies.

But then, I’ve been drinking Adnams since I was about fourteen!

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Food | , , , | 1 Comment

The Death Of The Duke Of Wellington

I used to use this pub occasionally, as it showed football on a large screen and served reasonable gluten-free pizzas.

But it is closed because of COVID-19!

How sad!

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Food, Sport | , | 3 Comments

Why I Don’t Use Virgin Media!

Look at this picture!

Enough said!

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Computing | , | 2 Comments

Government Orders 10,000 Ventilators From Dyson

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the BBC,

It may seem strange to some, that the government has turned to a vacuum cleaner manufacturer to build high-tech medical equipment for the NHS.

But.

  • Look at the quality of the parts on your Dyson vacuum, where they all fit tightly together.
  • I suspect that some of the principles about air-flow in a vacuum, apply to a ventilator.
  • Advanced manufacturing has progressed a lot in recent years and it should be one of Dyson’s strengths.

The BBC are reporting that Dyson is working with The Technology Partnership, an innovation company based in Cambridge.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Health | , , , | 3 Comments

Get Set For Max Return, Says Boeing

The title of this post is the same as this article in The Times.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Boeing is to fire up its 737 Max production line by May as it seeks to return the aircraft to service by the middle of the year.

Two points from the article.

  • Some suppliers have been asked to start shipping parts from April.
  • Boeing’s share price has risen, by 34.3%

But given the shadow over air travel caused by COVID-19, is restarting production a wise move?

I certainly don’t trust the Boeing 737 MAX!

But then if you live in London, I don’t think, you will need to fly in one, as there are a good selection of short haul trains and airlines that fly the smaller Airbuses.

I probably won’t fly short-haul again, until an airline starts flying electric aircraft.

March 26, 2020 Posted by | Transport | , , , | 3 Comments