Jump to content

Thinking about Electricity Storage

Recommended Posts




pi08142006__.jpg : powerindex : companies : forum : batteryspace



"Storage of electrical power is critical for the stability and robustness of the electrical grid, and it is essential if we are ever to use solar and wind as our dominant primary power sources. The best place to provide this storage is locally, near the point of use. Imagine that by 2050 every house, every business, every building has its own local electrical storage device, an uninterruptible power supply capable of handling the entire needs of the owner for 24 hours. Because the devices are, ideally, small and relatively inexpensive, the owners can replace them with new models every five years or so as worldwide technological innovation and free enterprise continuously and rapidly develop improvements in this most critical of all aspects of the electrical energy grid.


Today, using lead-acid storage batteries, such a unit for a typical house to store 100 kilowatt hours of electrical energy would take up a small room and cost more than $10,000. Through revolutionary advances in nanotechnology, it may be possible to shrink an equivalent unit to the size of a washing machine and drop the cost to less than $1,000. With these advances the electrical grid can become exceedingly robust, because local storage protects customers from power fluctuations and outages. Most importantly, it permits some or all of the primary electrical power on the grid to come from solar and wind. "


Source of this section: http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?section=co...mp;newsid=11392





= = = = =


Electricity Storage Assoc.: http://electricitystorage.org/

News items & innovation : http://www.powermanagementdesignline.com/


Sadoway's Presenation.. : http://www.mitenergyconference.com/files/s...Don_Sadoway.pdf

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 54
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I dunno, I'm not spending 600 quid on a big bulky box (not to mention installation), and I don't reckon many others will too. The beauty of the electricty grid is the economy of scale. Surely the best way of storing energy is through hydroelectric stations with two levels (there is one in Wales), or a tidal power station that pumps in extra water with surplus power giving more of a boost when the tide switches (like one in France). Another option might be to use surplus power to produce hydrogen. In any case, this will take a lot of investment and won't happen for years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I dunno, I'm not spending 600 quid on a big bulky box (not to mention installation), and I don't reckon many others will too.

You might not have the choice.

And if you wait long enough to find out.....it might cost a hell of a lot more than 600 quid.



Through revolutionary advances in nanotechnology, it may be possible to shrink an equivalent unit to the size of a washing machine and drop the cost to less than $1,000.

Source of this section: http://www.evworld.com/view.cfm?section=co...ue&newsid=11392

See.....this is where I start to drift in these debates...

Relying on science fiction is not gonna resolve this in the next 3 centuries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See.....this is where I start to drift in these debates...

Relying on science fiction is not gonna resolve this in the next 3 centuries.

What fiction? The applied science of the small (nanotechnology) promises to bring battery technology out of the stone age. It is already yielding tasty fruit:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Compressed air is a v. flexible storage medium. Use your energy to power a compressor. Air is free, abundant , ubiquitous and easily stored. Then, when you want your energy back, hook your compressed air canister up to a turbine or whatever. The only thing is it's a bit bulky.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Think of it as a Power Bank...


Some say,

"I'm not spending 600 quid on a big bulky box (not to mention installation), and I don't reckon many others will too. The beauty of the electricty grid is the economy of scale"


What if:

Electricity was priced at different prices different times of day (as it is in some locales). For example, if electricity were 50% cheaper at night wouldn't you want to power up your electric car, or your in-home ppwer storage at night (when it is cheap), and then use the stored power during the day, when you need it.


The cost savings would be huge. And if we had this system one day, you might find that electricity storage facilities were built into every home


Not too far-fetched, I think




Restructuring of the electric power industry has presented new opportunities for the application of a variety of storage devices for better energy management, particularly in the fields of renewable energy and distributed generation. These new applications are in addition to the use of electricity storage in the traditional power generation and delivery infrastructure.


Since it is essential to understand the capabilities and limitations of each storage technology before applying them. Here's a basic overview and a list of developers and suppliers to obtain more detailed information.




Polysulfide Bromide flow

Vanadium Redox flow

Zinc Bromide flow

Sodium Sulfur

Lithium Ion

Metal-air battery


Compressed Air Energy

Super Capacitor


Pumped Hydro storage


List : http://electricitystorage.org/tech/technol...echnologies.htm

Link to comment
Share on other sites

JUST OUT !!! 29 March, 2005

New battery offers unsurpassed recharge performance and high energy density



TOKYO -- Toshiba Corporation today announced a breakthrough in lithium-ion batteries that makes long recharge times a thing of the past. The company's new battery can recharge 80% of a battery's energy capacity in only one minute, approximately 60 times faster than the typical lithium-ion batteries in wide use today, and combines this fast recharge time with performance-boosting improvements in energy density.


The new battery fuses Toshiba's latest advances in nano-material technology for the electric devices sector with cumulative know-how in manufacturing lithium-ion battery cells. A breakthrough technology applied to the negative electrode uses new nano-particles to prevent organic liquid electrolytes from reducing during battery recharging. The nano-particles quickly absorb and store vast amount of lithium ions, without causing any deterioration in the electrode.


The excellent recharging characteristics of new battery are not its only performance advantages. The battery has a long life cycle, losing only 1% of capacity after 1,000 cycles of discharging and recharging, and can operate at very low temperatures. At minus 40 degrees centigrade, the battery can discharge 80% of its capacity, against 100% in an ambient temperature of 25 degree centigrade).


Toshiba will bring the new rechargeable battery to commercial products in 2006. Initial applications will be in the automotive and industrial sectors, where the slim, small-sized battery will deliver large amounts of energy while requiring only a minute to recharge. For example, the battery's advantages in size, weight and safety highly suit it for a role as an alternative power source for hybrid electric vehicles.


Link: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/about/press/2005_03/pr2901.htm


The Specifications and characteristics of the new battery are rather amazing





Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you're right about electricty storage being a key area for investment. But which, and when? What percentage of total power needs to come from fluctuating sources before the need for storage becomes essential? 1%, 5%, 40%? Knowing this will help to decide when to plunge in with cash.

For the home user, it would probably be easier to sell excess capacity back into the grid (assuming your local utility is willing to take it). Where I live, we experience frequent power outages in the winter due to high winds and snowfalls. Storage would be a nice backup option. If hard pressed utilities become less reliable, that would also increase demand. And the suggestion of variable power rates might also help. Simply a matter of energy costs vs storage costs. They will meet at some point no doubt.


I also like the idea of the compressed air option, but I wonder if it is too inefficient.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

STORED POWER is catching on as an investment theme.


There is a new thread on Advfn

with CHARTS!: http://www.advfn.com/cmn/fbb/thread.php3?id=11367193


Top companies are:

Active Power (ACPW)

Beacon Power (BCON)

EnerSys (ENS)

Hitachi Ltd. (HIT)

Maxwell /PowerCache (MXWL)


Teledyne Technologies (TDY)

Toshiba (TOSBF)

VRB Power Systems, Inc. (v.VRB)


A key company in the sector is:

EnerSys (ENS): is the world's largest manufacturer, marketer and distributor of industrial batteries.


EnerSys is the largest industrial battery manufacturer in the world, operating 21 manufacturing and assembly facilities worldwide for customers in over 100 countries. Worldwide and Americas headquarters are located in Reading, Pennsylvania, USA with regional headquarters in Europe and Asia.

EnerSys is uniquely positioned to provide expertise in designing, building, installing and maintaining a comprehensive stored energy solution for industrial applications throughout the world. The company's products and services are focused on two primary markets: Motive Power (North & South America) or (Europe) and Reserve Power (Worldwide), (Aerospace & Defense) or (Speciality Batteries).

. . .

The EnerSys story began over 100 years ago, when The Electric Storage Battery Company ( ESB) was founded near Philadelphia in 1888 - its Chloride Accumulator Battery helped launch the Age of Electricity. ESB grew dramatically over the years, through product innovation and by expanding the uses for battery power for automotive and industrial applications.


Today's EnerSys can trace its roots to the ESB industrial battery business. The current company was formed in 2000 from the Motive Power and Reserve Power businesses of Yuasa Inc. In March 2002 EnerSys purchased the Energy Storage Group of Invensys plc making EnerSys one of the world's largest providers of standby DC power solutions. EnerSys' leading brands include Hawker, PowerSafe, DataSafe, Exide and Genesis.

- -


It's movements seem to correlate with the Oil Sector/XLE, but with bigger swings

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stored power has been around for decades, in a small way. As a student, 20 years ago, I used to clean the offices of a company called UPS, or Uninteruptable Powers Supplies. They sold great banks of lead-acid batteries wired to inverters to generate 240v ac. They were, and still are, used in the IT industry to ensure that power cuts do not cause a catastrophic failure of critical computer systems in a power cut. They are way to expensive and bulky for general use or power applications though.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

" lead-acid batteries "

are rapidly becoming yesterday's technology.

"While maintenance issues necessitated the exclusive fielding of sealed VRLA batteries in outdoor cabinets, the fluctuating temperature environments of the cabinets have created serious concerns of battery life, and safety issues. The performance of VRLA batteries deteriorates drastically as the environmental temperature increases beyond 30 oC. Unfortunately in some outdoor cabinets temperature can increase to as high as 50-55 oC which seriously decreases the life of the VRLA battery. Higher temperature can also lead to gas pressure buildup in the battery causing explosion and fire. Another issue with Lead-acid batteries is its large volume. Space is premium in outdoor cabinets. Telecom operators would rather use the space to house revenue-producing telephone equipments than batteries. These factors coupled with increasing power requirements for enhanced services are requiring telecom providers to come up with advanced battery solutions having significantly more energy content per unit volume and longer service time. "


@: http://www.modenergy.com/applications.html

= =


Li-Ion looks the future, along with... what else??

Link to comment
Share on other sites

" lead-acid batteries "

are rapidly becoming yesterday's technology.


Li-Ion looks the future, along with... what else??


Agree that lead-acid is a very old technology. It still does a good job where high peak loads are required though, eg. starting a car. When cars come with Li-Ion batteries instead of lead-acid, we will know that a lot of progress has been made.


At the moment though, Li-ion is miles away from being viable for storing domestic electricty. Cheak out the price of batteries, and then work out how many kWh they hold. They are also have a limited lifespan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Perhaps I should look into the price of Lithium


= =


Meantime, I have stumbled across this company:


Headquartered in Vancouver, B.C. Canada, VRB Power Systems Inc. (?VRB Power?) is an electrochemical energy storage company that is commercializing the patented VRB? Energy Storage System (?VRB-ESS??) and has acquired the intellectual property rights comprising the Regenesys Energy Storage System (?RGN-ESS??). Both technologies represent a new enabling capability to effectively store large amounts of electricity on demand. They can provide direct economic benefits to utilities and end users in terms of improved power quality, reliability and energy efficiency. They are particularly well suited to load levelling (peak shaving), electrical power arbitrage, grid stability enhancements, capital deferment and Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS) applications. The Company is focused on stationary power sources such as utility substations, commercial buildings, production facilities, telecommunication operations, cellular radio sites, and renewable resource generation such as wind farms and solar applications -- creating the ability to provide ?firm? capacity. As a ?green? technology, the VRB-ESS is characterized by having a low ecological impact and is unlike most other conventional energy storage systems that rely on toxic substances such as lead or cadmium. VRB Power is publicly listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (?VRB?) and the OTC Pinksheets (?VRBPF?).



@: http://www.vrbpower.com/investor-relations/stock.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Perhaps I should look into the price of Lithium




Very good point though. I have no idea how much Lithium is available for exploitation. It is a very simple atom, so probably quite a lot. I shall try and look into it


Make sure there is enough left over for the manic depressives though! Lithium has been a "wonder drug" for people with this condition.


Edited to add: A quick look on Google reveals that most Lithium mining takes place on Rigel VII




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found this chart thru the PowerPulse link:




The first full week of March saw power electronics stocks slip as Darnell's Power Index dropped 3.5%. Weakness was felt across the board as decliners outnumbered advancers by 38-to-7. The power semiconductor sector fell 6.1% as every company in the index except Volterra Semiconductor dropped. The story in the energy storage and generation sector (ES&G) was much the same-every company but BYD Company declined, leaving ES&G down 5.7%. However, the big riser of the week was Delta Electronics, which climbed 5.8%, to help bring the power conversion sector a modest rise of 0.9% in this bear-filled week.


...MORE: http://www.powerpulse.net/features/powerindex.php

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some Litium info Lithium


In 2001 (most recent figure, unfortunately):

World production was 15,000 tonnes

World resources were 12,000,000 tonnes


Looks like there is plenty around, unless Li-ion really takes off.


Have you come across Li-polymer batteries ? I have a colleague who designs small, powered (model) aircraft, where energy density is vital. He has been using Lipoly for several years now as it significantly out performs Li-ion in his opinion. He actually has a very small business, importing Lipoly in bulk and then retailing them over the net, mainly to other model enthusiasts, I believe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FOUND one company...


Lithium mining: Avalon taking bulk sample from Separation Rapids

Source: Miner and News


With a new customer interested, Avalon Ventures Limited has commenced the second phase of a bulk sampling program on its Separation Rapids rare metals project located north of Kenora.


Avalon president Don Bubar, contacted at his Toronto office this morning, said the company interested in the lithium-based minerals on the property has found a new use for the ore in producing a new material with applications in the construction industry.


The lithium, tantalum, cesium and rubidium rare metals found in the ore have several high-technology applications in the aerospace, electronic, computer, chemical and ceramics industries.


The bulk sampling work is being done by Moncrief Construction of Kenora with the extraction of the sample to be carried out over the next two weeks to take advantage of frozen ground conditions for access of the site with heavy equipment.


Bubar said they are currently mobilizing the equipment to the site with the objective to extract approximately 300 tonnes of crushed lithium minerals ore for delivery to the customer. The company already received and processed an initial six-tonne sample delivered in September 2005.


Crushing of the sample will be completed in Moncrief's yard in Kenora and they plan on having the crushed ore product ready for shipping by April 15. Amalgamet Canada, Avalon's lithium minerals marketing agent who found the new customer, is arranging for shipping of the product.


Results from the earlier sample were positive and further test quantities with the second bulk sample of the crushed ore are required to "scale-up" the process and assist the customer in its own product development efforts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

PS : BEYOND BATTERIES / Seawater Pumped Storage



It already exists - in Japan



In the 1960's Japan started to research seawater power in the form of a seawater pumped-storage (SPS). After years of research and they have built the first Seawater Pumped-Storage Power Plant in the world, and have been testing it for over 5 years.


Okinawa Yanbaru Power Plant

The project is a demonstration plant for seawater pumped storage power generation located at the northern part of Okinawa Island. In practicalization of seawater pumped storage power generation, there was a necessity to find concrete solutions to technical problems arising from the use of seawater and problems of impacts on the environment. There is no case of seawater pumped storage power generation actually having been done anywhere in the world up to the present, and this pilot plant constitutes a first example.




@: http://www.seawaterpower.com/fullstory.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NICE ARCHIVE of Articles on Batteries


on the Alt-Energy Blog : http://www.altenergystocks.com/archives/batteries/


EXAMPLE / excerpt:

Battery Technology

Lithium-Ion Polymer - Tops in Battery Technology. Fuel cell industry respondents rank Lithium-ion polymer (32%) and Lithium-ion (12%) as the battery technologies that will experience the highest growth rate over the next 3-5 years.


Summary of Key Findings


Fuel Cell Sector Well Positioned for Future Growth


Which Sector will Experience Biggest New Technology Breakthroughs in Next 12-24 Months?

Fuel Cells (27%, up 5-pts), Hybrid/Electric (27%, unchanged)


Which will Experience Most Rapid Economic Growth - Next 5 Years

Fuel Cells (25%), Solar (22%), Hybrid/Electric (20%)


Reasons for Rapid Growth in Fuel Cells

Technology Advances (37%), Cost of Energy/Short Supply (23%)


Where Will Fuel Cells Have Greatest Economic Impact in Next 3-5 Years?

Stationary Power for Buildings (52%), Aerospace/Military (24%), Automobiles (16%)


Fastest Growing Fuel Cell Areas

Proton Exchange/ PEM (44%), Solid Oxide (20%), Direct Methanol (16%)


Biggest Barriers to Rapid Adoption

Cost of Fuel Cells Too High vs. Other Energy Sources, Complexity of Technology/ Too Many Technical Hurdles Still Ahead


Leading Companies


Fastest Growing Fuel Cell Companies - Next 2 Years

Fuel Cell Energy (33%), Energy Conversion Devices (17%), Ballard Power (14%)


Biggest Market Impact - Next 3 Years


Fuel Cells

Fuel Cell Energy (28%), Energy Conversion Devices (24%), Ballard Power (24%)



Energy Conversion Devices (24%), Ballard Power (11%)


Battery Technologies

Energy Conversion Devices (45%)


@: http://www.altenergystocks.com/archives/batteries/

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

£715,000 Grant for Lithium Battery Research

3 May 2006


The work seeks to develop new devices with the energy and power capacities of Li-ion and supercaps combined.

University of Bath (UK) researchers have received grants worth £715,000 (US$1.3 million) to develop new ceramic and nano-materials for advanced lithium-ion batteries targeted at applications in hybrid electric vehicles and in storage for renewable power generation.


The work is part of a growing green technology focus at the University, which is making it a major center of research into sustainable energy and cutting pollution. The University, with its other development partners, recently unveiled the CLEVER (Compact Low Emission Vehicle for Urban Transport) CNG concept vehicle.


...MORE: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/05/71...nt_fo.html#more

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Compressed air and hydrogen electrolysis are inefficient processes for storing energy. Compression/expansion is only efficient at very large scales such as in a jet engine (ie, 5MW+), and storing the compressed air is too expensive unless you have some "given" that subsidises the real cost.


For instance, gas compression has been done where there are natural caverns to use as "free" storage. This is done in Germany, with air compressors pressurising caverns if electricity is surplus. When they need power they let the air flow into combustors and expand it in a turbine. It works for peaking loads, but you need special geology for it to be viable. There is a basic thermodynamic loss as most of the heat of compression is lost to cooling. As an example, to compress 1m cube of air to 100 atmospheres requires about 1,000 kJ and will raise the gas temperature to about 750degC. If the gas then cools to ambient, the pressure will fall to just 27 atm's, and you will only get back about 200kJ (and an exhaust gas temp of -170degC!). These figures are a bit rough. I haven't done gas calculations for years. They illustrate the problem of low efficiency though.


By the way, a cubic metre of petrol contains 56,000,000 kJ. To produce that much energy from cycling, I would have to ride almost 500,000 miles (120kJ per mile primary energy burn at 15mph, assumes 25% thermal energy conversion).


Unfortunately cheap,compact storage of electricity is not something we are near, despite huge expenditure in trying to find it. The car industry has tried for decades to produce a viable electric car. They are getting better. In fact, electric cars are viable already for most trips people take by car, it's just that a car is so expensive that it has to be able to do that occasional 250 mile run if you are going to buy it.


When I lived in Switzerland in the early 1990s, there were already quite a lot of little electric cars there, very small things like pup tents on wheels. Not really the thing for our roads crowded with lorries and the 4x4 brigade. I think electric cars will becaome a lot more acceptable when a major chunk of the population can no longer afford a fossil-fueled car. People will just accept the drop in range, and there will be progressive improvements in batteries.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I always liked flywheels


Batteries and inverter systems suffer from losses: I2R (I Squared R or copper losses), Iron Losses depending upon the magnetic medium and harmonics losses due to the quality of the waveform.

They also are expensive to produce(I know enconomy of scale etc) and contain lots of nasty chemicals.


Flywheels are an old mechanical method of storing energy and coupled with a Motor/Genny power unit they could become very accessible ways of energy storage.

Some electronic energy conversion/inverter will be necessary as the Flywheel maybe spins 2000-30,000 rpm to get 50hz 230V AC and it make everything easier to do. (unless you want a commutated DC system for the house).


Another big strength is the discharge rate, they can spend all day charging up on solar cells or wind, water whatever you want to use a the prime source and then release a lot of the stored energy over a short time period.


I think its important when talking about energy storage to look very closely at energy usage.

If your using solar power, well while the suns shining your out at work.

The household demand is very low, the device stores at a trickle rate.

But when you come home you switch on the TV, kettle for a cup of tea, electric shower etc and the demand is very high but for a short period of time.


I remember a lecturer telling me that power station engineers used to use a copy of the radio times to plan for peak energy demand (to avoid transient instability).

If the world cup was on they would crank everthing up 5 mins before the commercial break as people would

put the kettle on, flush the toilet(this is a big often forgotten energy usage-pumping water), the UK power demand could increase by 30% for 5 minutes.


Batteries are really a portable solution, just look at electronics CMOS was developed for battery powered devices due to it's Non-Quiescent power usage.

The big driving force in electronics has been for portable devices but little has been invested in heavy power.

An interesting point is that if you look at the HV heavy current devices that came out of the collapse of russia, they had SF6 circuit breakers about the quarter of the size of rest of the world because our world concentrated on the sony walkman and was consumer driven whereas russia continued with a heavy current bias (build it big).

Incidently if you think Dyson is a genius, It was basically a russian design - just look at the timing !


Flywheels have the potential of being very accesible to a mass market and a low tech solution.


Maybe you could buy a "Flywheel Kit" and B&Q, dig a hole in your garage, drop in the specialist parts like the bearings and control box then just fill the Flywheel container with concrete, follow the balancing instruction (this might be the weak link) and hey presto cheap easy storage at 90% plus efficiency.


I can image the future where your every day Dave has a couple of wind turbines, a few solar cells and lightly buzzing Gyro Inc Flywheel storage unit humming away in his garage inspection pit as he flips steaks and sausages on his Green Electric barbecue.


Some Googled Links


Simple Explanation

Commercial Products


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...