The Anonymous Widower

Fracking Has a Bad Rep, but Its Tech Is Powering A Clean Energy Shift

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Texas Monthly.

It shows how former frackers are developing their techniques to do the following.

  • Extract heat and energy from shale using water.
  • Store energy safely underground.
  • Drill deeper and better geothermal wells.

One of the companies; Quidnet has been backed by Bill Gates and his friends. I wrote about Quidnet Energy a couple of years ago in How Do You Save Clean Energy? This Company Plans To Pump It Underground.

And all in environmentally-friendly ways, that would get a seal-of-approval from a committed anti-fracker.

It’s the best article I’ve read this week.

February 19, 2022 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill Gates Invests In Verdox’s Carbon Capture Technology

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

This is the first paragraph.

Bill Gates has invested in a carbon capture start-up. His Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund has taken part in an $80 million fundraising for Verdox, a Massachusetts-based business whose technology aims to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air.

I have my doubts that this technology will ever be economic, especially as plant, trees and in particular rain forests, do a good job at using the carbon dioxide. Planting trees is also one of those feel-good community activities.

This last paragraph gives a few details of the process.

Verdox, which is a spinout from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims that its system is cheaper and more efficient. It uses a special plastic, which when charged with electricity, can extract CO2 from a mixture of gases. A change in voltage releases the CO2.

It is a process with a good pedigree, but you’ve still got to find a way to store or use the carbon dioxide.

Plants worked out how to do that eons ago.

 

February 4, 2022 Posted by | Energy | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Form Energy’s New Low-Cost, Iron-Air Battery Runs For 100 Hours

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the Singularity Hub.

This paragraph sums up the genesis of the battery.

A secretive startup backed by Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures thinks it may have the answer, though. Form Energy, which was co-founded by the creator of Tesla’s Powerwall battery, Mateo Jaramillo, and MIT battery guru Yet-Ming Chiang, has unveiled a new battery design that essentially relies on a process of “reversible rusting” to provide multi-day energy storage at ultra-low costs.

And this paragraph describes the operation of the battery.

The company’s batteries are each about the size of a washing machine, and are filled with iron pellets and a water-based electrolyte similar to that used in AA batteries. To discharge, the battery breathes in oxygen from the air, converting the pellets to iron oxide, or rust, and producing electricity in the process. To charge, the application of a current converts the rust back into iron and expels the oxygen.

It’s all very fascinating and leads to a battery made from very affordable materials.

The article quotes between $50 to $80 per kilowatt-hour for lithium-ion batteries and around $20 per kilowatt-hour for Form Energy’s battery.

Conclusion

The article is definitely a must-read.

I feel that Form Energy should be added to my list of viable batteries.

August 3, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | 2 Comments

Gates, Bezos Bet On Flow Battery Technology, A Potential Rival To Big Bets On Lithium-Ion

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

This is the first paragraph.

The U.S. energy storage market is expected to grow by a factor of 12 in the next five years, from 430MW deployed in 2019 to more than 5GW and a value of more than $5 billion by 2024, says Wood Mackenzie Energy Storage Service.

Those are big numbers and it makes me ask the question of whether Planet Earth has enough lithium.

The title of the article says that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are looking at flow battery technology, as a possibly alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

What Is Flow Battery Technology?

This is the first sentence of the Wikipedia entry for flow battery.

A flow battery, or redox flow battery (after reduction–oxidation), is a type of electrochemical cell where chemical energy is provided by two chemical components dissolved in liquids contained within the system and separated by a membrane.

Wikipedia’s explanation is comprehensive.

  • There are seven different types.
  • There are around twenty different chemistries.
  • They have various advantages and disadvantages.
  • They seem to be less efficient than lithium-ion batteries.

Applications include; load balancing, uninterruptible power supplies, power conversion, electric vehicles and standalone power supplies.

It looks like they are a lithium-ion replacement.

Conclusion

This technology is one to watch.

With all those types and chemistries someone could strike extremely lucky!

 

December 11, 2019 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Malta Energy Storage System Is Looking Forward To First Pilot

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

This is the first paragraph.

Malta has received a round of funding and is graduated from “project” to group that can sail. The Cambridge, MA-based company is focused on the storage of electro-thermal energy and the funding put the group in celebration mode this month. In return, the company is turning up the volume on its potential role in the future of energy storage—namely, working out salt-based electro-thermal energy storage.

The article goes on to describe how the system works and I suggest you read it.

This is the last paragraph.

Malta CEO Ramya Swaminathan said the challenge ahead is about design and manufacturing, in Xconomy. Swaminathan said customers were expected to come from a variety of points in the energy system. Such as? She said they expect “developers with wind or solar projects who want firm power, to grid scale applications that can be in the hundreds of megawatts range, to critical backup for data centers, to isolated grid systems like island economies.”

I believe the technology has a lot going for it.

  • It has heavyweight financial backing.
  • The technology is very conventional and well-understood, which will ease manufacture and maintenance.
  • No complex or expensive raw materials are needed.
  • I would suspect that few, if any dangerous chemicals are needed.
  • It would have developing country applications.
  • They would seem to have a large capacity.

I shall be following Malta Inc. with interest.

December 24, 2018 Posted by | Energy Storage | , | 2 Comments

Gates Among Billionaires Backing Alphabet Energy Spinoff

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

This is the first paragraph.

Alphabet Inc.’s secretive X moonshot lab is spinning off an energy-storage project with backing from billionaires including Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

Read the article. This could be the affordable grid-scale energy storage everyone needs.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Energy Storage, Finance | , | 1 Comment