The Anonymous Widower

Tesla And PG&E Are Working On A Massive ‘Up To 1.1 GWh’ Powerpack Battery System

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

This is the first two paragraphs.

For the past few months, Tesla and CEO Elon Musk have been teasing a giant battery project that would dwarf even the company’s 129 MWh Powerpack project in Australia.

Today, we learn that Tesla is working with PG&E on a massive battery system with a capacity of “up to 1.1 GWh” in California.

It certainly, is a big lithium-ion battery.

  • It will be able to provide 182.5 MW for four hours.
  • It looks like it could be the largest  lithium-ion battery in the world.

It is worth comparing with the Castaic Power Plant, which is also in California.

  • This is a pumped storage plant.
  • It can produce 1566 MW and has a capacity of 12470 MWh.

This Google Map shows the plant.

Note.

  1. The power plant is also part of the California State Water Project, which transfer water from North to South.
  2. The low-lake is Elderberry Forebay to the East.
  3. The high-lake is Pyramid Lake to the North.

It is a complicated system that includes the Angeles Tunnel, which takes water between Pyramid Lake and the Castaic power plant.

It cost a lot more than the 1.1 GWh battery, but it can generate a lot more power.

 

April 5, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

Spanish Govt Approves Energy Storage Strategy, Sees 20 GW In 2030

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Renewables Now!

This is the introductory paragraph.

The Spanish government on Tuesday approved the energy storage strategy, targeting some 20 GW of storage capacity in 2030 and reaching 30 GW by 2050 from today’s 8.3 GW.

How will Spain increase their storage capacity?

Pumped Storage Systems

Spain already has a couple of large pumped storage systems.

The La Muela II Pumped Storage Power Station

The La Muela II Pumped Storage power station is based on the Cortes-La Muela Reservoir

This Google Map shows the dam.

In terms of generating capacity, it is about the same size as Dinorwig power station in Snowdonia., which is the UK’s largest pumped storage power station.

The Aldeadávila Dam

The Aldeadávila Dam is a 1243 MW hydro-electric power station with a pumped storage addition on the River Douro between Spain and Portugal.

This Google Map shows the dam.

It certainly looks like a place to visit.

Both these pumped storage station seem to have been converted from earlier hydro-electric power stations.

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn, that the Spaniards, were going to increase their number of pumped storage power stations.

  • Spain certainly has the mountains, with big rivers running through!
  • Bolarque dam already uses pumped-storage techniques.

Are there any other existing hydro-electric power stations in Spain, that can be converted to pumped storage or be upgraded?

Concentrated Solar Power

Spain has around thirty concentrated solar power or CSP power stations, either in operation, under construction or planned.

Some also store electricity as heat.

Spain is not short of sun.

Spain is considered a world leader in this technology.

This Google Map shows the Andasol solar power station.

The specification includes.

  • It uses technology called a parabolic trough.
  • A nameplate capacity of 149.7 MW
  • A capacity factor of 37.7 %
  • Annual net output of 495 GWh
  • a storage capacity of 1.123 GWh
  • The energy storage is based on a mixture of potassium and sodium nitrates.
  • The power station takes up an area of six square kilometres.

Will Spain build more of these CSP power stations or add energy storage to some of the existing stations?

Batteries

The article has this sentence.

the government wants to add large-scale batteries, behind-the-metre batteries — minimum 400 MW in 2030 — and make the most of the vehicle-to-grid technology, according to the document.

It should be noted that Spain has installed capacity of over 25 GW of wind power, according to this article on Wikipedia, which is entitled Wind Power In Spain.

These are some points from the article.

  • Spain has a lot of indigenous wind turbine manufacture.
  • The Spanish wind-power industry employs upwards of 60,000 people.
  • A central control centre for Spanish wind power needs to be developed.
  • There is little opposition to onshore wind, although perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there is some opposition to offshore wind.

After reading what Wikipedia had to say, it appears to me, that Spain needs a ;pt of batteries to support all these wind turbines.

The world’s second largest wind-turbine manufacturer is Siemens Gamesa, who are Spanish-based.

Siemens Gamesa have an innovation storage battery based on hot volcanic rock, which I wrote about in Siemens Gamesa Begins Operation Of Its Innovative Electrothermal Energy Storage System.

This gives a brief description of the pilot plant.

The heat storage facility, which was ceremonially opened today in Hamburg-Altenwerder, contains around 1,000 tonnes of volcanic rock as an energy storage medium. It is fed with electrical energy converted into hot air by means of a resistance heater and a blower that heats the rock to 750°C. When demand peaks, ETES uses a steam turbine for the re-electrification of the stored energy. The ETES pilot plant can thus store up to 130 MWh of thermal energy for a week. In addition, the storage capacity of the system remains constant throughout the charging cycles.

It was taken from this press release from Siemens Gamesa.

This page on the Siemens web site gives the nominal output of the system as 30 MW.

So it would need just over a dozen systems like these to perhaps be strategically-placed near large wind farms to meet Spain’s target of 400 MW of energy storage.

Highview Power’s liquid air systems would be another possibility, but I doubt, they’d perform as well in the heat of Spain, as a system based on hot rocks.

Conclusion

Spain’s plan seems achievable and could create a lot of employment.

It also seems to me, that their natural resources of mountains, big rivers and lots of sun are a great help.

 

 

 

February 11, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spot The Battery

RheEnergise have just released this picture, of one of how one of their pumped storage systems might look.

They describe it as a typical small site after landscaping.

This is their description of the image.

This is an image of a small water works in Fife Scotland, you can just see 2 small water tanks at the base of the hill. This is an example of what a small High-Density Hydro project could look like after landscaping.

How many times have you seen a scene like this in the UK, Europe and all over the world.

They didn’t disclose the storage capacity of this system.

February 2, 2021 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , | Leave a comment

Holy Grail Of Energy Storage Receives Two Grants

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Off Grid Energy Independence.

This is the introductory paragraph.

RheEnergise is one of only a select handful of businesses to have been awarded grants under both the Sustainable Innovation Fund & the Small Business Research Initiative.

So what have RheEnergise developed?

The home page of their web site, is surprisingly detailed, unlike those of some other companies with new ideas, and not just energy storage companies!

This is the first paragraph on their home page.

RheEnergise is bringing innovation to pumped hydro storage. We call our new solution High-Density Hydro ™.

I think that is a good start, as although pumped hydro storage is well proven and the UK has the 1,728 MW Dinorwig Power Station, which has a storage capacity of 9.1 GWh, building new large pumped storage systems is fraught with difficulties and the technology has seen only modest innovation in the last few decades.

The next paragraph on their home page describes their innovation.

HD Hydro ™ uses our proprietary HD Fluid R-19 ™, which has 2.5x the density of water. R-19 gives RheEnergise projects 2.5x the power and 2.5x the energy when compared to water.

This means that for the same size of pumped hydro storage power station, you get 2.5 times the amount of energy storage.

Alongside a diagram of the system, the advantages of their systems is stated.

Projects can be installed on hills 2.5x lower than a project using water and still achieve the same power – for example, there are so many more hills at 150m than at 375m.

2.5x smaller, by volume, meaning dramatically lower construction costs, faster build times, easier reinstatement and easier landscaping – projects can be entirely hidden.

A very simple innovation has greatly increased the possibilities of pumped hydro storage.

The home page also gives a typical capacity.

RheEnergise projects provide 10MW to 50MW power and 2 to 10 hours of storage capacity.

These systems are in the same range as those of Highview Power, who are building a 50 MW system, with a five hour capacity at Carrington near Manchester, that I wrote about in Highview Power Breaks Ground on 250MWh CRYOBattery Long Duration Energy Storage Facility.

Both have the advantage, that they are easily scalable.

With RheEnergise’s HD Hydro ™, the size of the upper reservoir would need to be increased and with Highview Power’s CRYOBattery, more tanks for the liquid air would need to be added.

The Technology

I certainly agree with the principle behind ReEnergise, both mathematically and practically.

My interest scientifically, is what is the fluid they use?

  • Pure water has a specific gravity of one and everything else is measured with respect to this.
  • So aluminium, which has a specific gravity of 2.7, is 2.7 times as heavy as water.
  • Many of us will be familiar with mercury, which is a metal, that is liquid at room temperature.
  • Mercury has a specific gravity of 13.56.

It puzzles me, how someone has created a liquid, almost as heavy as aluminium, that can be pumped and handled like water, as it would need to be, to make a pumped storage system work.

 

 

November 12, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , | Leave a comment

So, What Exactly Is Long-Duration Energy Storage?

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

This is the sub-title.

Everyone’s talking about it, and Californians are buying in. Here’s what you need to know about this emerging grid sector.

It describes what California is doing and the sector, with particular reference to Hydrostor, Form Energy and Highview Power.

The article finishes with a section entitled What’s The Catch?

This is the first two paragraphs.

The obvious barrier to a thriving long-duration storage industry is convincing generally conservative power plant customers that emerging technologies quite unlike anything the grid currently uses are safe bets for decades of operation.

Lab tests can reduce the risk, but nothing beats operational, megawatt-scale installations for proving that something works. That’s why the Form deal with Great River Energy is so crucial, as are early projects by Highview Power and Hydrostor. The big exception to technology risk is pumped hydro, which has been used at scale for decades. Those projects grapple instead with high capital expense and environmental concerns.

The article is a must-read and hopefully, this and more articles like it, will convince conservative energy company owners, regulators and governments, that long duration energy storage is the missing link between renewable power and electricity consumers.

At least, the current UK Government has backed two of the most promising British long duration energy storage companies; Gravitricity and Highview Power.

October 27, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Energy Storage “Water Battery” Breakthrough: Look Ma, No Underground Powerhouse

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

Pumped hydro storage as used at Dinorwig power station or Electric Mountain in the UK is a good way to store electricity.

But it is expensive to build and one of the major costs is building a large underground powerhouse. This is Wikipedia’s description of the construction of the powerhouse at Dinorwig.

Twelve million tonnes (12,000,000 long tons; 13,000,000 short tons) of rock had to be moved from inside the mountain, creating tunnels wide enough for two lorries to pass comfortably and an enormous cavern 51 metres (167 ft) tall, 180 metres (590 ft) long, and 23 metres (75 ft) wide[10] known as “the concert hall”. The power station comprises 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) of tunnels, one million tons of concrete, 200,000 tons of cement and 4,500 tons of steel.

That is big, but on the other hand, it reportedly paid for itself in two years.

According to the article, a company called Obermeyer Hydro Inc has come up with a new design of pumped storage turbine., which eliminated the need for an underground powerhouse.

  • Cost savings of 45 % are claimed.
  • Reading the full article, I get the impression, that a radical redesign of the reversible turbine will be a game-changer.
  • I suspect, it could be of benefit in small countries like the UK, where pumped storage is expensive and faces strong opposition in certain areas.

It is also significant, that this appears to be successful innovation in an area, where it was thought we had reached the ultimate design.

 

August 25, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , | Leave a comment

Sizewell C: Nuclear Power Station Plans For Suffolk Submitted

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

A few points from the article.

  • It will provide enough electricity for six million homes.
  • It will create 25,000 jobs during construction.
  • Sizewell C will be a near replica to Hinckley Point C.
  • It will generate 3.2 GW of electricity.
  • It will be low-carbon electricity.

As a well-read and experienced engineer, I am not against the technologies of nuclear power.

But I do think, by the time it is completed , other technologies like wind and energy storage will be much better value. They will also be more flexible and easier to expand, should we get our energy forecasts wrong.

  • We will see higher power and more efficient wind farms, further out in the North Sea.
  • Massive energy storage systems, based on improved pumped storage technology and using new technology from companies like Highview Power, Zinc8 and others will be built.
  • Wind and solar power an energy storage are much easier to fund and financial institutions like L & G, Aberdeen Standard and Aviva have invested in the past for our future pensions.
  • If you want to go nuclear, small modular reactors, look to be much better value in the longer term.
  • I also don’t like the involvement of the Chinese in the project. History tells me, that all pandemics seem to start in the country!

It is my view that the biggest mistake we made in this country over energy was not to built the Severn Barrage.

My preferred design would be based on the ideas of Sir Frederick Snow.

There would have been a high and a low lake, either side of a central spine, behind an outer barrage.

  • Reversible turbines and pumps between the lakes would both generate and store electricity.
  • When proposed in the 1970s, it would have generated ten percent of the UK’s electricity.
  • A new road and rail crossing of the Severn, could have been built into the outer barrage.
  • A lock would have provided access for shipping.
  • It would have controlled the periodic, regular and often devastating flooding of the River Severn.

Some versions of the original design, even incorporated an international airport.

  • The runways would be in the right direction for the prevailing wind, with regard to take-off and landing.
  • Take-off would be over open sea.
  • High speed trains could speed travellers to and from London on an updated Great Western Railway.

I believe a modern design could be even better.

  • The central spine and the outer barrage would be the foundations for a large wind farm.
  • There would also be a large number of powerful floating wind turbines to the West of the outer barrage in the Severn Estuary.
  • A giant electrolyser on the central spine would produce hydrogen, that could be used to decarbonise the UK’s gas network.
  • A power interconnector could be built into the outer barrage to connect Wales to the nuclear power stations at Hinckley :Point.
  • A cluster of small nuclear reactors could be built on the central spine.
  • In the intervening fifty years, we have probably learned how to build a barrage like this, so that it can benefit birds and other wildlife.

I believe, it will never be too late to build a Severn Barrage.

 

May 27, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage, Transport | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

150 Hours Of Storage? Company Says That’s True To Form

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

It is very much a must-read about the emerging technology of high-capacity and long term energy storage, with particular reference to Highview Power and Form Energy.

The article fills out a lot of what I wrote in Will The Real Form Energy Please Stand Up!

I also feel that there’s also an old kid on the block, when it comes to long term energy storage and that is new methods of deploying pumped storage, that I wrote about in The New Generation Of Pumped Storage Systems.

May 10, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

Highview Power Keeping Up Momentum

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

This is the introductory paragraph.

It’s full steam ahead for Highview Power as the energy storage provider’s CEO and President today updated on operations.

It does look thatHighview are optimistic since their partnership with Sumitomo Heavy Industries was announced, that I wrote about in Japanese Giant Sumitomo Heavy Invests In Liquid-Air Energy Storage Pioneer.

I am optimistic too!

  • Highview’s system uses no difficult technology or rare materials.
  • The system can provide large amounts of storage, which we are going to need with all the wind farms we are developing.
  • From my Control Engineering and mathematical modelling experience, I believe, these systems can be used to boost power, where it is needed, in the same way gas-fired power stations do.

But above all, Highview Power has created a standalone energy storage system for the Twenty-First Century, that catches the needs and moods of the Age!

Our energy system is changing and it not expressed any better, than in this article on Physics World, which is entitled Does The UK Need 40 GW Of Firm Capacity?

This is the opening sentence.

Whether it comes from nuclear plants or fossil fuel-fired power stations with carbon capture and storage (CCS), the UK will need 30-40 GW of new “firm” low-carbon baseload generation by 2050 to meet the net-zero emissions target, Greg Clark reportedly said.

I don’t think that the country will allow any Government of the UK to build that much nuclear capacity and I have my doubts about the feasibility of large scale CCS. I also don’t think, the public will allow the building of large coal-fired power stations, even with CCS. And they don’t like nuclear either!

On Wikipedia, Wind Power in the UK, says this about the current Round 3 of proposals for wind farms.

Following on from the Offshore wind SEA announced by the Government in December 2007, the Crown Estate launched a third round of site allocations in June 2008. Following the success of Rounds 1 and 2, and important lessons were learnt – Round 3 was on a much bigger scale than either of its predecessors combined (Rounds 1 and 2 allocated 8 GW of sites, while Round 3 alone could identify up to 25 GW).

If you think UK politics is a lot of wind and bluster, that is pussy-cat’s behaviour compared to the roaring lions around our shores.

Wikipedia then lists nine fields, with a total power of 26.7 GW, but some are not being built because of planning.

But we ain’t seen noting yet!

Wikipedia says this about Round 4.

Round 4 was announced in 2019 and represented the first large scale new leasing round in a decade. This offers the opportunity for up to 7GW of new offshore capacity to be developed in the waters around England and Wales.

The Agreements for Lease will be announced in 2021.

Wikipedia then makes these points.

  • Nuclear power stations have funding and technical problems.
  • Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster public support for new nuclear has fallen
  • The UK government increased its previous commitment for 40 GW of Offshore wind capacity by 2030, in the Queen’s Speech in December 2019.
  • In 2020, this represents a 355% increase in ten years.
  • It is expected the Crown Estate will announce multiple new leasing Rounds and increases to existing bidding areas throughout the 2020-2030 period to achieve the governments aim of 40 GW.
  • The Scottish Government has plans to chip in 6 GW.

I will add these feelings of my own

  • I have ignored the contribution, that better wind-power technology will make to get more GW for each billion pounds of investment.
  • I can see a day, in the not too distant future, when on a day in the summer, no electricity in the UK comes from fossil fuel.
  • There will be a merging between wind power and hydrogen generation, as I described in ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration.
  • Traditional nuclear is dead, although there may be applications for small nuclear reactors in the future.
  • In parallel to the growth of wind power, there will be a massive growth of solar power.

But we will need to store some of this energy for times when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

  • Pumped storage hydroelectric schemes, as at Electric Mountain in Snowdonia may have a part to play as I described in The New Generation Of Pumped Storage Systems. But sadly, the UK doesn’t have the terrain for another 9.1 GWh scheme.
  • A lot of electricity will be converted to hydrogen to power industrial processes and augment and possibly replace natural gas in the UK’s gas network.
  • Some electricity will be stored in batteries in houses and vehicles, when it is most affordable and used, when it is more expensive.
  • Companies and funds, like Gresham House Energy Storage Fund will fund and build storage facilities around the UK.
  • Traditional lithium-ion batteries require a lot of expensive raw materials controlled by the Chinese!
  • But if we develop all these options, and generate tens of GWs using renewables, the UK will still need a substantial amount of GW-scale affordable energy storage systems.

It is my belief, that Highview Power is the only practical GW-scale affordable energy storage system.

My only worry about their system, is that the idea could be ripped off, by an unscrupulous country with a solid process plant industry!

 

 

 

May 2, 2020 Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage | , , , , , | 1 Comment

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 or 4 MW for a thousand hours!

It should be noted that Electric Mountain has an efficiency of 74-76%.

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.

There is one pumped storage project under development in the UK at the present time; Snowdonia Pumped Hydro, which obtained planning permission in 2017.

These are some characteristics.

  • Situated in Snowdonia in old slate quarries at Glyn Rhonwy.
  • 99.9 MW of power
  • 700 MWh of storage capacity.
  • 2 reversible turbines
  • Start to full power in 12 seconds
  • Cycle efficiency of around 81%
  • Project lifespan of 125 years
  • Estimated carbon saving of 50,000 tonnes per year

It is under a tenth the size to Electric Mountain, but every little helps.

I would also feel that with a 125 year life, it could be the sort of investment, that would appeal to a Pension Fund.

 

 

 

April 1, 2020 Posted by | Energy Storage | , , , , | 6 Comments