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As others have suggested, the so-called AC Batteries or more properly called Pumped Storage Hydroelectric could provide city-sized energy storage.

Some facilities, such as Cabin Creek in Colorado, have more than meters of vertical capacity owing to the mountains in the area, but the Ludington Pumped Storage facility is just 34 m in height, 4 km long and 1. That is probably safer than storing , barrels of gasoline as well—and less susceptible to spoilage. Water is stored in a reservoir at a higher elevation and released to drive turbines at peak demand times during the day — when electricity is both scarce and at it most expensive.

That water is captured and held in a lower elevation reservoir and then pumped back up to the top at night when energy is cheap and relatively plentiful. The power at night from one of these would effectively be essentially free, as it has to run anyway. But again, if the pumping energy is from a fixed traditional plant as I understand they need to run all the time anyway — they need constant load.

They are able to start up quickly and make rapid adjustments in output unlike traditional generation. It seems these could also be recreational lakes as well? Thanks, Stephen. Hydro pumped storage is the cheapest storage method we have, followed by the lead-acid battery.

For New York, you could. But to store 1. Storage is only part of the problem if the intention is make wind and solar dispatchable power and replace fossil fuels entirely. Even if you are lucky and manage to make it through a few poor generating days using storage, you have now exhausted that reserve and your storage is depleted. Without a follow on period of considerable length when wind and solar are operating at high production the storage takes a long time to recharge. At least it does unless you have so overbuilt the capacity of the generating system that you end up throwing away huge quantities of energy when times are good.

Take the VBR system by Prudent energy.

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Look, guys, waving your hands is nice but you need to run the numbers. Hoser, if you think that electrolyzing water into H2 and O2 is a feasible plan, you need to give us the numbers for: 1. The energy required to electrolyze the water. The energy required to compress the H2. The efficiency of the reconversion to electricity. The losses because the atoms are so tiny, hydrogen is a bitch to contain, or to compress for that matter.

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The cost, the cost, the cost of all of the above. Finally, hydrogen is one of the most dangerous of fuels, because it burns at such a wide mixing ratio of fuel to air … As I said above, the battery problem is a wicked one. If it were, Edison would have solved it. There are different formulations of lead-acid batteries. You are right about the car battery, which is good for cranking at A but not optimal for storage.

Lithium-ion battery, How does it work?

But have a look at the UPS batteries, which are also lead-acid batteries, except they are optimised for endurance. There is nothing out there that is even close to the lead-acid battery type in terms of weight, cost, reliability, and safety. Nothing else can sustain a similar number of charge cycles and its power density is just a little worse than that of a lead-acid battery. For grid-scale storage, the flow batteries seemed to be promising.

The project was subsequently discontinued. It is there, but it does not work. So, being the third largest energy storage after combustible fuels and water the lead-acid battery remains very relevant to this discussion. If it should short out, then that energy is released and then vaporizes the metal mass of the battery, which will then burn in the air with many times more energy released than just the electrical energy. The metal-oxides will go into the air and fallout into the environment for more trouble. A mountain of coal can burn, but there is little else that burns with it.

Furthermore, a mountain of coal cannot explode or short out. Thanks, Tom. You missed the point, likely my lack of clarity.

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Also, I wanted people to realize how much energy you need to pack into the battery. Willis mentions responding to Hoser : 1. Edison was not an inventor, he was a manager who used his understanding of things like patent laws to appropriate the work of actual intelligent individuals to make himself rich, and he electrocuted cats and elephants to screw over Tesla, an actual super-genius inventor. Edison carried out a campaign to discourage the use[26] of alternating current, including spreading disinformation on fatal AC accidents, publicly killing animals, and lobbying against the use of AC in state legislatures.


Edison directed his technicians, primarily Arthur Kennelly and Harold P. Brown,[27] to preside over several AC-driven killings of animals, primarily stray cats and dogs but also unwanted cattle and horses. Harold P. Brown, who was being secretly paid by Edison, built the first electric chair for the state of New York to promote the idea that alternating current was deadlier than DC.

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The first jolt of electricity was not enough to kill Kemmler, and only left him badly injured. Pumped hydro or cousin variable release hydro accounts for over 99 percent of grid storage. All you need is lots of water and a mountain….

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It is unlikely any battery or capacitor system well ever find major grid scale usage, although they are practical already for distribution level frequency regulation in devices called statcomms. Try EPRI for starters. Another way to visualise the amount of energy storage required to power New York City for 72 hours is to estimate the area of each of two storage reservoirs, with m vertical separation, for pumped hydro energy storage. A battery does not actually store electricity, but it is this misconception that I think drives so many futile efforts to force its application into uses where it is unsuitable.

A battery is simply a temporary storage of energy using a reversible chemical reaction. It can certainly be convenient in many applications but using a battery to store city-sized amounts of energy or even vehicle-sized amounts is just silly.

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  7. Far better, and more efficient, to generate electricity as needed. In contrast to a battery,supercapitors actually do store energy in an electric field. As such, they are ideal for short-term storage for vehicle purposes. A significantly smaller and more efficient gasoline or diesel engine could be employed if a bank of supercapacitors were employed to store just a small amount energy to be delivered over a just a few minutes.

    Oshkosh has some large trucks which use this concept. If you have lived in the bush and been reliant on batteries you would understand the dilemma. Cost is prohibitive. From my experience in designing equipment and machines and structures, I can tell you that one of the things people pay designers good bucks for is exactly that — knowing what direction NOT to go in.

    It becomes your modus operandi — to look at a new concept for those trouble spots. If you run into one of those, you have to toss the concept out the window as being unworkable. Experienced designers who talk that lingo — we communicate pretty well among ourselves.