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March 02, 2008

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jimb

what I don't understand is, if altairnano's battery specs are true, why aren't they selling into this market where they'd clearly trump NaS setups.

GreyFlcn

Because energy storage is about low cost, not high performance.

Sodium Sulfur batteries are much lower cost than nano-lithium-phosphate, by a couple orders of magnitude.

Stephen

This website has had some good discussions on energy, batteries and hydrogen: www.thewatt.com

There is a whole chat about the future of the hydrogen economy and the more efficient electron economy. : http://thewatt.com/node/78

Jim Holm

If you have water and hills nearby, pumped hydro is, by far, the best way to go.

http://www.nuclearcoal.com/articles.htm#The_Answer_Isnt_Blowing_In_The_Wind._0

Jim Holm

Benjamin Cole

Actually, I don't think stored energy is that important. Solar, wind, geothermal, nukes and clean coal can supplement the existing grid. The nukes and coal plants, and gas-fired plants, can ramp up in those odd situations where demand peaks, but supply is limited.
Solar is nice, as it works right when demand is highest -- on hot days.
On top of that, look for built space in the USA to use less, not more, energy every year.
Thanks to simple, proven green technologies and design, new buildings use about one-half the electricity of similar older buildings, and every time an older building is rehabbed, it becomes less of an energy hog.
In the next 30 years, more than 2/3rds of the built space in the USA will be built new, or rehabbed. Energy demands will go down.
Same with US refineries. Gasoline demand fell in California last year by 1.1 percent, and going forward, look for gasoline demand to fall every year.
We have seen Peak Demand in the USA and the developed world. Our policies should accelerate this trend, but also recognize the good news when it is there. Expensive systems we need not.. Just keep cutting demand, and the benefits will accrue to the economy.

Al Fin

Large-scale renewables have been more or less "on hold" waiting for cheap, reliable, megawatt scale storage. My sentimental favourite is redox flow-cells, but if NaS cells will do the job economically, I'm all for them.

Jim Holm: Minnesota is not known for its tall hills.

Roger Brown

NGK Insulators claims that in mass production the price of NAS batteries will drop to U.S. $140/kWh. The round trip efficiency in AC mode is 75%. With a lifetime of 2500 cycles at 100% DOD this adds up to a cost of $140/2500*0.75= $0.075 on top of the cost of primary generation. If private finance capitalism and a rising stock market last forever (or at least during our lifetime, a standard assumption of many posters on this site) then the cost of interest must be added to this number, thus bringing the cost up close to $0.12/kWh. This is not cheap electricity by today's standards.

There is also an issue of storage time. All applications of large scale battery storage that I have read about assume storage times of 24 hours or less (e.g. leveling daytime/nightime loads). Load leveling over longer time periods require much larger up fron investment. For example if a battery system which levels day/night variation has a life time of 10 years, then a battery system attempting to level loads at a time scale of 10 days would require 10 time the up front cost and would require a full century to give a complete return on investment.

pbean

"Commercial projects are now underway that use...compressed air energy storage". I'm not aware of any that have progressed beyond the proposal stage; I'd like to hear about any that have.
"I don't think stored energy is that important. Solar, wind...can supplement the existing grid...Nukes and coal plants, and gas-fired plants, can ramp up in those odd situations where demand peaks, but supply is limited." Not always. ERCOT went into emergency status Feb. 26 when wind output dropped too quickly (among other problems.) Interruptible loads were shed. http://www.ercot.com/news/press_releases/2008/nr02-27-08.html
"$0.12/kWh...is not cheap electricity by today's standards." But not all that expensive, either. The average PJM on-peak price last August was $0.086/kWh, and there were many hours when it was over $0.12. So there will be times when this will make money, and the payback should be adjusted accordingly.

Cyril R.

True, projected costs are too high for bulk energy storage. Which probably restricts NaS to levelling grid anomalies. That's an important market though in grids with large percentages of wind etc.

Ausra claims $10/kWh for their underground hot water storage, with round trip efficiency greater than 95% and possibly in the 98-99% range. Should last a long time too and be fairly easy to repair in the case of failures.

Of course that is thermal storage, which is dependent on the succes of thermal plants in particular ST but fission perhaps as well. Electric-heat-electric is possible but with current technology (turbines) it's got abominable round trip efficiencies, it's not a good idea from an exergy viewpoint.

Roger Brown
But not all that expensive, either. The average PJM on-peak price last August was $0.086/kWh, and there were many hours when it was over $0.12

I was talking cost not price. The price has to pay for the salaries of power company employees, maintenance trucks etc. Plus you have to add on the cost of primary generation divided by 0.75.

Carl Hage

Roger Brown posts some interesting calculations: assuming future mass-production cost of $140/kWh, a 2500 cycle life yields .075/kWh, maybe .12 adding other costs.

A cost of $.12/kWh is not bad considering current gas-fired peaking cost is $.60/kWh simple cycle and $.24/kWh advanced simple cycle. See the California Energy Commission's Comparative Costs of California Central Station Electricity Generation Technologies (page 19 and 30-32). See also a 2005 report An Assessment of Battery and Hydrogen Energy Storage Systems Integrated with Wind Energy Resources in California (table on page 39). The table is confusing though by mixing kW and kWh.

If the lifetime could be increased to 4000 cycles, then costs could come down. Of course, you have to add the cost to buy off-peak for storage-- the CEC report has wind at $.08/kWh.

Shaving peak demand can be a good use for batteries, and putting the batteries at substations near consumers rather than generators could help cut transmission line requirements. It seems like this would be more useful for PV systems, and storing DC output from a PV array could be more efficient than AC-DC-AC.

I was reading about the zebra batteries for the Smith truck this weekend. From a 2003 Betard.co.uk report "ZEBRA Battery - Material Cost Availability and Recycling" (I had to use Google cache since the web site is dead) they project mass manufacturing at $28/kWh material cost and $100/kWh sale price. I don't know how much inverter costs are, though I wonder if there could be cost savings combining DC storage and HVDC transmission.

Clee

Makes me wonder, which is cheaper or better, to add local battery storage, or to upgrade transmission line capacity? Would more transmission line capacity have averted the Texas power emergency last week?
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2749522920080228

bigTom

Our computations are giving something like $.12/KWhr. And that is just the cost to store the energy, not produce it, or convert and switch it. This would not seem to be very attractive for bridging renewable production gaps. It might be useful for smoothing out an unexpected sudden power drop, until other reserve power sources can be switched on however. Some other information we don't have that might effect the effective cost might also effect the result. One would be the lifetime in terms of power cycles. Perhaps the 2500 figure is for full discharge at nameplate power. Many battery technologies last much longer for lower values of discharge level, and/or discharge power. Possibly these batteries can be used at somewhat lower power/capacity with a large increase in lifetime? Perhaps they can be reconditioned/rebuilt for a fraction of their original manufacturing cost?

Clee: those are good questions. I suspect unless someone associated with the incidence chimes in we won't really know. The little bit I read about the incident, the backup power sources were unable to respond as contracted for. If that is true, I bet some heads may roll. In any case, rather than concluding that wind is dangerously reliable, it seems that the takehome lesson should be to pay attention to the reserve capacity, as well as better forcasting of wind drops.

Jim from The Energy Blog

Sorry I missed this announcement on Altair delivering 2 MW of batteries to AES:

January 2, 2008 -- Altair Nanotechnologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALTI), a leading manufacturer of safe, high-performance lithium-titanate battery and energy storage products, announced today that it completed on schedule in December the manufacturing of battery packs to be used in a two (2) megawatt energy storage system ordered by the AES Corporation. The $1 million purchase initiated by AES was previously announced in August 2007. Altairnano expects the system to be connected to the grid and tested during the first quarter of 2008.

Regarding CAES:

I thought the Iowa Stored Energy Park would be in operation by now, but it is not scheduled to be operating until 2011. This was taken from their site:
http://www.isepa.com/
Currently, CAES is in use in two locations: a 110 MW facility in Alabama, http://www.caes.net/mcintosh.html, and a 290 MW facility in Germany which has been in operation about 30 years. Using similar storage methods, natural gas is stored underground in many locations around the world.

pbean

Thanks, Jim. I was aware of the old Alabama and German facilities but I haven't seen any new ones get off the drawing board. Meanwhile battery technology is improving and diversifying rapidly. It's nice to have options!

Buddy Ebsen

I think there is the usual confusion here about units. How can battery storage be priced in terms of dollars per Kwh? Doesn't that imply advance knowledge of exactly how many times the battery is going to be cycled? If its really $140/kWh, then they are going to get killed, because I only pay about $0.07 per kWh.

If they meant $140/kW capacity, then the lifetime number of charge/discharge cycles becomes the important factor, with the critical unknown figure being the price differential between kWh bought and sold. Leaving out the cost of borrowing, I get $140/2500 = $0.056 per kWh required to break even. Seems reasonable to me, as I have heard of off-peak electricity costs of nearly zero.

That's if, as another poster pointed out, the battery is completely dead after 2500 cycles, and there is zero salvage value.

Roger Brown
I think there is the usual confusion here about units. How can battery storage be priced in terms of dollars per Kwh? Doesn't that imply advance knowledge of exactly how many times the battery is going to be cycled?

There is no confusion about units. $140 is the price you would pay to get 1kWh of storage capacity. The price of deivered electricity = $140/(number cycles * efficiency)

Alex Stall

Does anyone know when they plan to begin installing this? It says spring, have they already started or will they be soon?

shawn

Our global dependence on fossil fuels and our urgent attempts to free ourselves from this dependence have revealed a significant deficiency in our current energy generation and supporting infrastructure. We are making great strides in the energy generation field with a nuclear renaissance on the horizon and the emergence of new and innovative ‘green’ technologies; nonetheless, these gains are offset by the inefficiencies inherent in our infrastructure. Unless we invest in and develop our capabilities to store efficiently the energy that we are producing, we are only going to add to the problem. We need a cost-effective, reliable and efficient energy storage platform to 1) transfer energy into, 2) store the energy, and 3) release it when needed. If this ideal platform existed today we would be much closer to true energy independence. The consequence of such a break-through in energy storage technology would truly change the face of the globe and help us realize our dreams.

In order to gain a better perspective on what a universally desirable energy storage device should comprise, we should look at each of the processes above. This may be an overly simplistic view of energy storage, but it does provide insight into what we are up against. Of the three processes, numbers 1) and 3) are the biggest culprits when it comes to wasting the energy we are trying to conserve. These losses are repetitive and additive and are a consequence of the inability of the energy storage device readily to accept energy and its reluctance to release it when needed. For example, if you take an ordinary lead acid battery, the amount of energy required to recharge it is always greater than what is actually stored, and you can never get as much out of it as it can store. These inherent short-comings have been accepted in the industry and design philosophies have followed suit. The industry as a whole has adopted a design philosophy that compensates for energy storage device inadequacies rather than trying to fix the problem. In other words, the industry accepts the energy storage device ‘as-is’ and then designs its systems to work around the problem. This line of thinking is wrong and it is not an acceptable approach for those interested in energy conservation. AGT has identified, and is targeting the root cause for these energy losses by attacking it at the most fundamental level.

AGT’s patent-pending technologies (protections held in the US, Canada and Europe) offer customized Ultrasonic Energy Efficiency Improvement (UEEI) solutions for all battery based applications. AGT uses high-frequency, low-level ultrasonic energy to alter the electro-chemical conversion process within the energy storage device. Specifically, the ultrasonic signal is tailored to enhance the energy storage devices internal electro-chemical diffusion characteristics. By doing so, the energy losses (waste) associated with this limiting characteristic during the transfer of energy to and from the energy storage device are significantly reduced. AGT recaptures the wasted energy and uses it for its intended function. Until now, this energy storage device characteristic was considered fixed and dependent on the chemical make-up of the energy storage device—AGT recognized that it is also dependent on the influence of ultrasonic energy. Thus, the energy storage device becomes an integral part of the solution, an active and controllable component of the system, rather than part of the problem. AGT is not settling for the energy storage device in its manufactured (as-is) form; we take a commercial product, we modify it, and we control it to fit our application.

-1-

Benefits of AGT’s Patent-Pending Technology and Process

• The size of a battery pack can be greatly reduced, to 1/3 of 1/2 of its original size
• Higher peak currents are available during discharge (power), up to 3X greater
• Faster charge times to 100% State of Charge (SoC), as much as 5X faster
• It will last 5-10 times longer, sharply reducing the need for battery pack replacement
• Its charge acceptance at lower currents is significantly increased (Solar)
• Its internal impedance can be adjusted to compensate for less than ideal wind speeds (Wind)
• The level of control is limitless and it is real-time, thereby allowing for compensation for load changes, environmental changes, etc
• The level of control can be altered via customized software solutions: A programmable battery pack
• Less weight compliments the plug-in hybrid initiative (40 miles on single charge)
• Lowered impact on the environment, fewer batteries being discarded
• Less gassing and at lower charging potentials, less sensitive to the cold (Fork-Lift)
• Industrial and residential applications
• Truly revolutionize energy storage without disrupting current production and distribution channels
• Cost effective and scalable solutions for energy storage worldwide

If we truly want to minimize or eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels and move toward a ‘green’ environment, we are going to have to change the way we think about energy storage. AGT has dedicated itself to solving these problems and will pave the way for others to follow. The gains achievable with the application of AGT technology are boundless.

comments/suggestions
shawnkel@gmail.com

Bob Wallace

Somewhat off topic, but there's no way to start a new thread on this site....

-------------------

A storage solution not often discussed, flywheels, might be getting a trial this year.

Beacon Power is in the process of completing a demonstration project in New York. They're behind schedule due to some of the parts supplied by other companies were not up to spec.

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=123367&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1111934&highlight=

John F.

The same company (Beacon Power) is also engaged in R&D for flywheel storage for a large wind project in Tehachapi, California.

http://tinyurl.com/576yys

Flywheel storage has always been more expensive than several competing technologies for large-scale energy storage, so they generally occupy a niche in UPS and other power quality applications. It will be interesting to learn if someone has figured out how to lower the cost of flywheel storage.

Henry Gibson

Perhaps laws could be passed to require not only energy efficient but power efficient homes. Sodium Sulphur batteries(or zebra batteries) could be installed at each home as part of the price of the home. A 100 kwh battery would cost less than $20,000 dollars and could run the whole house during the day including the air conditioner; power could be bought from the grid at night for a low price or it could be directly generated from natural gas all day and would require no electrical connection at all. The waste heat from the generator could be used to heat water, swimming pools or even cool the house with very old technology. This can more than double the energy efficiency of the house and reduce the carbon impact by as much as 40 percent. The $20,000 is a small fraction of the cost of most houses that would require such a large battery especially in California. The batteries can be designed to allow the individual replacement of cells.

If a Zebra battery is used, many cells can totally fail before the battery is useless and these cells can be replaced. There could be life of more than 20 years.

The batteries could store solar and wind power, but could even be more valuable to provide peak power to the grid. The batteries could also supply rapid charges to electric cars.

On the other hand, if natural gas is available, there is now no need for a GRID.

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Bob

I think the confusion is that if the cost per kwh of storage is $.12 and you store only 1/4 of your need than the increase in overall generating cost is only $.03/ kwh, not $.12/kwh. You only pay for what you use. Therefore, if a wind system generates at $.08, you add the $.04 to get an average cost per kwh of $.11. When you consider we are in a sinking ship, that is a pretty cheap bucket.

Bob

Long term we will be using solar also. Everything will be tied to a national grid. We will also have other energy sources available to help with peaks. Considering the variety of energy sources available the overall need for battery storage is small. I'm guessing about 20% capacity at most. Also, until wind and solar make up more than our baseline needs, there really is no need for storage if all the power goes to the national grid. These energy sources (wind and solar) will not exceed baseline for several years. By that time batteries should cost less. The best approach, then, is to invest in battery research, but concentrate most effort and money on getting as much wind and solar capacity on line as possible (without storage).

Storage is important in the long run. But for now the pundits keep saying that there are no storage options available. Even if that were so, it would not make a difference until renewables exceeded baseline electric use. The point is, why give them an issue to tell the public solar will not work, when there is no issue? By the time it is an issue the competing fossil fuels will be even more expensive, batteries will be cheaper, global warming much more accepted etc. Then the battery issue will be a no brainer (just like Ann Coulter).

Fat Man

Technofossil: One of your links seems to be off. Try this instead:

See also a 2005 report An Assessment of Battery and Hydrogen Energy Storage Systems Integrated with Wind Energy Resources in California (table on page 39).

JJL WR GA

How come there are no additional comments since July 2008. Solar, Wind, Hydro, and GemoTherma are the real long term solution for US energy needs. To make that work, we need a good storage system.

there is no reason for 100KWH batteries to come down to 5 to 10K. Why mass production. How many electric cars will need batteries? PV prices should also come down. Know how many bldg need roofs?

JJL WR GA

How come there are no additional comments since July 2008. Solar, Wind, Hydro, and GemoTherma are the real long term solution for US energy needs. To make that work, we need a good storage system.

there is no reason for 100KWH batteries to come down to 5 to 10K. Why mass production. How many electric cars will need batteries? PV prices should also come down. Know how many bldg need roofs?

carl

I think environmental sustainability is the new American patriotism. Check out this article that pretty much says it all:

http://www.enviro-family.com/articles.html

Paneles Solares

Hello From Spain:

We are a Solar Energy company in Spain. Our name is Sun Fields Europe SL, you can check our website to check http://www.sfe-solar.com (SunFields Paneles Solares) and i have a question: Coudl this technology used with solar energy too?, i hope so, it would be a fantastic news. Please confirm.

Regards.

frank

Great news.
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Renewable Electricity

Solar Energy - Solar Power site is providing all the information and products you need to start your own solar power project.
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David

Hi, My name is David and I wish to say hello to everyone and that if your passionate about Alternative Energy, saving energy and saving money. If you want to learn how to build a wind generator,a diy solar water heater,how to start off the grid living, or alternative energy advice in general, visit my site at www.alternativeenergyadvice.net

Don Obrien

This a great site. I am singing the praises of renewable energy on my blog reliablerenewableresourceful

free energy system

If advanced countries have the great technology on conserving energy, then they should considered to help developed the same technology to the third world countries, they need it first, because their energy source such as gas,oil and coal being exploited gigantically by advanced countries. This will devastated our planet more rapidly than anyone can predict, at the end, vital to the existing of every living being..

earth4energy guide

Nice article. It`s important to involve more countries in using solar energy more active.

Richard

I agree. It will take a great amount of effort, but so long as we work together for a common and noble cause, I'm pretty sure we'll succeed. I also think that more and more people should consider using alternative sources of energy.

Huggable hanger

How come there are no additional comments since July 2008. Solar, Wind, Hydro, and GemoTherma are the real long term solution for US energy needs. To make that work, we need a good storage system.

Nose hair trimmers

ong term we will be using solar also. Everything will be tied to a national grid. We will also have other energy sources available to help with peaks. Considering the variety of energy sources available the overall need for battery storage is small. I'm guessing about 20% capacity at most. Also, until wind and solar make up more than our baseline needs, there really is no need for storage if all the power goes to the national grid. These energy sources (wind and solar) will not exceed baseline for several years. By that time batteries should cost less. The best approach, then, is to invest in battery research, but concentrate most effort and money on getting as much wind and solar capacity on line as possible (without storage).

Sealed Lead Acid Batteries

Very informative and well written. It'll be interesting to see the developments in the coming years!

Home Generator Lover

The only real way to get the populus behind any of these initiative is to pay them. Pay them in the form of grants and tax relief.

If each person or family was financially rewarded for every energy saving effort they made, we would reduce carbon emissions well and beyond any government imposed or internationally imposed limit. This is the way the world works.

Subsidies, grants and relief. Then you will see how quickly we will all take to using sustainable energy. Its sad I know but, if you want people to save the planet for future generations, you got to pay them, because basically people do not really care unless it hits their pockets.

prince sinha

I think that in the refinery, where reboiler ( steam as a heating media ) is used, we can use FES or Na2S as a heating media. Na2S is highly producing electricity which can be used as a heating media.

Alternative Energy Freak

Renewable, alternative energy like the one derived from nontraditional sources such as sunlight, wind, or geothermal heat, that can replace traditional fossil-fuel sources, as coal, oil, and natural gas is the kind of energy we should all consider as the only alternative for the future. (http://goo.gl/R8Ir)
And the sooner we undertstand that, the better!

forklift rental

Well, It will take a great amount of effort, but so long as we work together, I'm pretty sure we'll succeed.

James

buy wholesale

If you have water and hills nearby, pumped hydro is, by far, the best way to go.

new balance

The man who has made up his mind to win will never say "impossible ".

engine additive

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Dog Bark Collar

Not all that is expensive. The average PJM on-peak price was $0.086/kWh last August, and there were a lot of hours when it was over $0.12

Todays deal

it's really cheap, if people focus on green power, it would be great way to save huge money.

dizimikacirdim

Thank great information for me.I Will keep visiting this great web site.Keep it up bro...

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