The Anonymous Widower

The New Generation Of Pumped Storage Systems

This excellent article on GreenTechMedia is entitled The 5 Most Promising Long-Duration Storage Technologies Left Standing.

One of the technologies the article discusses is pumped storage, which in the UK is used at the massive Electric Mountain in Snowdonia, which can hold 9.1 GWh of electricity and supply up to 1,800 MW of electricity when needed. That’s not bad for 1970s engineering!

The GreenTechMedia article introduces pumped storage like this.

Midcentury modern design is hot again, so why not midcentury storage technology? This gravity-based concept physically moves water from a low to a high reservoir, from which the water descends, when needed, to generate electricity. This dates from way before lithium-ion’s heyday and still provides some 95 percent of U.S. grid storage, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The largest pumped storage system in the US is Bath County Pumped Storage Station, which is described as the biggest battery in the world. With a storage capacity of 24 GWh of electricity and a generating capacity of 3,003 MW, it dwarfs Electric Mountain. But then the Americans have bigger mountains.

Pumped storage is a good partner for intermittent renewables like wind and solar, but in a country like the UK, the US and other countries with strong planning laws getting permission to build a large pumped storage system is not easy. We tried to build one on Exmoor, but that was abandoned.

Note that the country building the most new pumped storage systems is China, where they have mountains and planning laws, that would not be acceptable anywhere else.

But engineers have come up with a new design, described in this paragraph from the GreenTechMedia article.

The new school of pumped hydro focuses on isolated reservoirs that don’t disrupt river ecosystems; this simplifies permitting, but projects still face a decade-long development timeline and billion-dollar price tags.

It then gives two examples of proposed systems.

Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Project

The operation of the Gordon Butte Pumped Storage Project is described like this in Wikipedia.

Gordon Butte will be located on a 177 acres (0.72 km2) site, and will have access to water from Cottonwood Creek, a tributary of the Musselshell River. The facility will operate as a closed system, without actively drawing or discharging water into the watershed. It will have a 4,000 acre-foot capacity reservoir, located 1,000 feet (300 m) above the base, with a power generation capacity of about 400 MW

The smaller size must make it easier to get it built.

How much energy will Gordon Butte hold in GWh?

  • A 4,000 acre-foot reservoir has a capacity of 4,933,927.42128 cubic metres.
  • As a cubic metre of water weighs a tonne, the reservoir can hold 4,933,927.42128 tonnes of water at an altitude of 300 metres.
  • Using Omni’s Potential Energy Calculator, this gives a potential energy of 4,032,108 KWh.

This is just over 4 GWh.

Ths facility could supply 400 MW for ten hours!

Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Facility

Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Facility is introduced like this on its web site.

The pumped storage hydropower project at Eagle Mountain, CA will transform a scarred brownfield site into a 1,300 Megawatt generator of green electricity that can light one million homes. The site is in a remote part of the Mojave Desert, more than 50 miles from the nearest city, Blythe, CA, and more than 60 miles from Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley. The construction of the project will create thousands of jobs and add millions of dollars to the local economy while adhering to the most rigorous environmental standards.

Note that it is turning an eyesore of the worst kind into a pumped storage facility. It’s surely better than using it for landfill!

Conclusion

Systems like these may have applications in the UK!

Could some of those massive quarries in the Peak District be converted into pumped storage systems, using the technology of my two examples?

This Google Map shows the quarries surrounding the town of Buxton.

Note.

  1. The white areas looking almost like clouds are quarries.
  2. Buxton has an altitude of three hundred metres, which is the altitude of the Gordon Butte Storage Project.
  3. The vast Tunstead Quarry, which is four kilometres East of Buxton has an area of over one square mile.
  4. Tunstead Quarry has a red arrow above it marked Buxton Lime and Cement.

Could we not extract as much limestone as is possible from Tunstead and then convert it into a pumped storage system like Gordon Butte? It could have an area of 2.5 square kilometres and an altitude of nearly a thousand feet. A rough estimate, based on Gordon Butte, indicates it could store over 10 GWh.

Hopefully, better hydro-electric power engineers than myself, are looking at the quarries in the Peak District, with eyes flashing like cash registers.

 

 

 

April 1, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | 4 Comments

The 5 Most Promising Long-Duration Storage Technologies Left Standing

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on GreenTechMedia.

This is the sub-title of the article.

Low-carbon grids need longer-duration storage, but few technologies have succeeded at scale. Here’s the current roster of best bets.

I won’t steal their thunder, by saying too much more.

  • Pumped storage, like Electric Mountain, is making a comeback.
  • My favourite; Highview Power is on the list!
  • One great thing about their Famous Five, is that perhaps only one uses an exotic material.
  • I also think, that all five could be funded by a Pension Fund to give a return to pay pensions.

But you should read the article!

We’re not going to run out of energy!

April 1, 2020 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

A Design Crime – The Average Smoke Detector

On Saturday Evening, the smoke detector in my bedroom decided to go off.

I was able to silence it about three times, but it refused to go off permanently.

I then decided to take it down, by standing on the bed.

Unfortunately, I slipped and broke the detector.

It is not the first altercation, I have had with the cheap and nasty smoke detectors in this house, which were probably bought in Istanbul market for a few pence.

  • In my view, there is a need for a superior type of smoke detector wired into a building in a better way.
  • It should be possible to replace a failed detector, like I had on Saturday in a simple operation without any tools.
  • There should also be a master switch in the house, that switches off all the smoke detectors.
  • Instructions on how to deal with the smoke detectors in case of failure should be in an obvious place in the house, like on the door of the meter cupboard.

Smoke detectors are too important, to be designed down to the cheapest possible station and most are a true design crime.

March 31, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Marks And Spencer In Dalston Was On The Ball

This morning, I walked to Marks and Spencer in the Kingsland Road for essential supplies.

I got more than I needed and now have enough food in the fridge and my cupboards for the next ten days.

The hold-up in the store were the tills, but one of the assistants had taken control of the situation, by marshalling customers to spare self-service tills, scanning goods and helping to get the customers out of the store as fast as possible.

It was real East End spirit in action.

Remember that the BBC soap, was nearly shot in a real square close to Dalston and in some ways the chivvying and banter could have been transposed.

Is EastEnders dealing with COVID-19? I doubt it!

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Health, World | , , | 2 Comments

This Is My Second Lockdown

I can’t be the only person, but in the 1970s, I has locked myself away for nearly a year before. I did it to write the first version of the Project Management software; Artemis.

There are some differences between my situation then and my situation now.

  • My wife was alive then and we saw each other for perhaps two days a week.
  • I could drive and I occasionally went down the Clopton Crown for the odd pint and meal!
  • I hadn’t been diagnosed as a coeliac, as that happened in 1997.
  • There was no Internet or social media.
  • There was no Radio 5 Live.
  • I am a better cook now, than I was then.
  • I am within walking distance of a Marks and Spencer Simply Food store.

I think the rules for surviving are as follows.

  • Eat and drink enough.
  • Have entertaining radio or television on.
  • Break the day up with a bit of exercise.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Arrange good weather.

Let’s hope this lockdown turns out as well as the last.

March 31, 2020 Posted by | Computing, Health, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proudly South African Hydrogen Breakthrough With Shell’s Backing

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly.

This is the introductory paragraph.

At this time of huge coronavirus uncertainty, the chests of a group of engineers here must surely be bulging with pride following their major Proudly South African world breakthrough that could speed up the global deployment of hydrogen as a competitive universal and environment-friendly energy carrier.

I think it got a bit jumbled in the typing.

Reading the article it does seem that various developments are coming together in South Africa.

  • A much simple electrolyser to produce hydrogen.
  • South Africa’s platinum for catalysts.
  • Large amounts of renewable energy.

The aim is to produce hydrogen at a comparable price with petrol.

This paragraph stands out.

South Africa has the combined solar and wind potential to produce competitive hydrogen, which can meet the world’s new environmental requirements.

The article talks about exporting hydrogen to Japan.

Conclusion

South Africa is a country that needs all the good news it can get.

This looks like it could be some of the best.

But how many other hot countries can take advantage of what looks like a breakthrough in the electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen for a fuel?

March 31, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , | 2 Comments

Battery Storage Paves Way For A Renewable-Powered Future

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Modern Diplomacy.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Battery storage systems are emerging as one of the key solutions to effectively integrate high shares of solar and wind renewables in power systems worldwide. A recent analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) illustrates how electricity storage technologies can be used for a variety of applications in the power sector, from e-mobility and behind-the-meter applications to utility-scale use cases.

The article then goes on to outline a good summary of the uses and expected growth of battery storage.

March 29, 2020 Posted by | World | | Leave a comment

My Daily Exercise

My father always said I was born lucky!

When I bought this house in Dalston after my stroke, I bought it because of the location.

  • There are four London Overground stations within walking distance.
  • Four bus stops are within a hundred metres, which are served by five bus routes, one of which goes to King’s Cross, St. Pancras and Euston
  • There are more than ten bus routes within walking distance.
  • I have three bus routes to and from the Angel for the shops and Chapel Market, where my paternal grandmother, used to shop before the First World War.
  • If I walk the other way, there was the rather run down Kingsland Road with a Sainsbury’s and lots of unhealthy takeaways.

But then Marks and Spencer opened a Simply Food store in the Kingsland Road by Dalston Kingsland station.

  • It is about a fifteen minute walk from my house.
  • It has a full range of their gluten-free food.
  • It stocks everything I need regularly.

It was certainly my luck, that they opened this store.

Today, I took my daily exercise by walking to the store and bringing home enough food for a couple of days.

  • Is this killing two birds with one stone?
  • The walk along the Balls Pond Road was notable because there was only little traffic and few pedestrians on one of East London’s main arteries.
  • A sizeable proportion of the shops were shut.

It was also very breezy and was this good to protect me from COVID-19, by blowing it away?

March 28, 2020 Posted by | Health, Transport, World | , , , | Leave a comment

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