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

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

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

Novel Long-Duration Energy Storage System Installed At World’s Largest CSP Plant

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

This is the sub-title.

Technology that stores power in molten aluminium inaugurated at 580MW Noor Ouarzazate solar complex in Morocco.

Other points from the original  article.

  • The idea is from Swedish start-up; Azelio.
  • The the Noor Ouarzazate solar complex is rated at 580MW
  • Noor is Arabic for light.
  • Energy is stored as heat in molten recycled aluminium at 600 °C.
  • When energy is needed, a Stirling engine is used to generate energy.
  • Waste heat can also be captured and used to heat buildings.
  • The system has a 90 % round-trip efficiency.

I feel this could be a winner in the long term.

March 7, 2020 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Blackstone Acquires Battery Energy Storage Firm NRStor

The title of this post is the same as that as this article in IPE Real Assets.

The Blackstone Group is on of the largest alternative investment firms in the world, so the title of the post says it all.

I believe that we need masses of energy storage to fight global warming and it looks like Blackstone are building a portfolio.

 

March 7, 2020 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Giant Sumitomo Heavy Invests In Liquid-Air Energy Storage Pioneer

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

Japanese industrial giant Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) has made a $46m investment in UK long-duration energy storage outfit Highview Power as part of a partnership deal to develop projects using its ‘cryobattery’ technology around the world.

I have extremely strong positive feelings about Highview Power.

I just wish, I was a shareholder!

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

ITM Power signs deal with AEG Power Solutions

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

Energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power has signed a deal with AEG Power Solutions.

The agreement means that Sheffield-based ITM Power will integrate its electrolyser technology, which produces hydrogen gas from electricity and water, with AEG’s power control electronics.

ITM Power are a company that certainly has some well-known friends.

Initially, they will be working together on five projects.

February 25, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Highview Power’s Advantages

I have said before that I like Highview Power’s system for storing energy by liquifying air.

This article on CleanTechnica is entitled Shell Signs PPA With Largest Storage Battery In Europe.

But it also has a section entitled Other Storage Plans For UK Are In The Works, which gives more details on Highview Power.

Replacement Of Decommissioned Power Plants

Highview are proposing that their systems can replace an existing fossil-fuel power plant, by using the existing site and grid connections. Connecting a power station to the grid, is often an expensive process, but if you can use an existing one, it must be more affordable.

Cost Versus Lithium-Ion

Highview are claiming that they can provide power at $143 per MWh, which compares with a cost of $187 per MWh, as quoted by Bloomberg.

That is nearly 24 % more affordable.

February 18, 2020 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment