Archive for Energy Storage

Distributed Pumped Store or Just Hydroelectric Power or Both?

J. Paul Sims, professor at ETSU and TSEA board member has been interested in studying distributed pumped store as part of the integral need for energy storage.  The concept is to run plants at full power during times of heavy demand in anticipation of near term energy needs for hot summers.  No doubt that hot summers like this one are not a fluke.  With a combination of pumped store along with solar, biomass and base plant operations, this may be a less expensive alternative to purchasing outside power.  Now well funded investors are recognizing the investment opportunities in purchasing dams and reservoirs that can be converted to pumped storage thereby adding to their available assets.  Consider the impact of the court decision to upheld the EPA’s authority to regulate green house gases.  Maybe the cost of natural gas fired turbines may not be the best investment if the right of the federal govenment to regulate the public’s health is uphold to a future test by the Supreme court if the electric power companies continue the fight to prevent expensive air pollution controls from being instituted.

The monied investors seem to think that purchasing water containment bodies are a good idea.  So do I.  I am for it IF the resource is managed correctly to take into account any potential environmental damage from the water fluxing.

Take a look at the following article found today knowing that TVA has recently granted leases to some of its stored water bodies.

June 29, 2012

 Source: Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P.  

Cheoah Dam, on the Little Tennessee RiverBrookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P. (BEP.UN) (Brookfield Renewable) has announced an agreement to acquire, with its institutional partners, a portfolio consisting of four generating stations in Tennessee and North Carolina from Alcoa Power Generating Inc. for a total enterprise value of $600 million, subject to certain price adjustments.

“We believe this acquisition provides a unique opportunity to capture rising electricity prices, and our operating platform and expertise is well-suited to maximize the value of this portfolio over the long term,” added Mr. Legault, President and Chief Executive Officer of Brookfield Renewable..

The Tapoco plants can be operated as daily peaking facilities and benefit from one of the lowest cost of operations in the TVA region, further enhancing their attractiveness and long-term value potential. In 2005, Tapoco was granted a 40 year operating license by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

 

 

Scientists create spray-on battery paint

Rice University researchers have created spray-on battery paint, creating the potential for new gadget form factors.

One of the primary factors holding back the development of truly next-generation devices is battery technology. Yes, the lithium-ion power modules that energize most of our current flock of gadgets are fairly small and reliable. But they still take up a relatively large amount of space in our devices, and often dictate the form factor to a certain degree. Fortunately, scientists at Rice University in Texas have developed an interesting solution: spray-on batteries.

Neelam Singh, one of the Rice researchers involved in the project, says they will work to reduce the size of the paint needed to hold a meaningful charge, and hope to make their creation more user friendly. Singh tells New Scientist that he hopes to one day pair the spray-on battery with paintable solar cells, to create the next generation of home electrical systems. When exactly such a thing will be possible, well, we’ll just have to be patient.

Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/scientists-create-spray-on-battery-paint/#ixzz1zCjEtPwE

The Birth of the Net-Zero Energy Community

Sandia National Laboratories and Forest City Enterprises – Partnering for a Secure and Sustainable Energy Future

In Albuquerque, N.M., a smart grid-solar-energy storage project backed by a consortium of Japanese giants is testing out a key element of the  net-zero energy community: how to harness mass-market solar to balance the grid inside and outside the neighborhood’s borders. This project could take the claim of the first fully functioning microgrid in the country, said Manny Barrera, Mesa Del Sol’s director of engineering.

Renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind, coupled with smart grid and microgrid technologies, energy storage, and energy efficiency are viable options to address the problem of system integration. However, integrating these systems require full understanding of operational challenges and establishing a return on investment.

To address these challenges, Sandia National Laboratories and Forest City Enterprises are collaborating to advance research and provide real-world test beds to Mesa del Sol project. As the centerpiece of the venture is the 78,000-square-foot Aperture Center which has been set up to run on its own solar power with its 440-kilowatt peak load covered by a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system, an 80-kilowatt fuel cell, a 240-kilowatt natural gas powered generator and a 160-kilowatt-hour battery storage system.

The technology — and funding — comes via Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), which is investing about $10 million in the Mesa Del Sol project as well as U.S. private and government funding.

original article

819 solar panels placed atop Bristol’s old demolition landfill

Bristol, Tenn. —

Bristol installs solar on closed construction landfill

You can certainly feel the power of the sun on one of recent sunny days. It’s not only the heat but those rays can be used to make power.

That’s the cornerstone of the solar energy business.

There’s a new alternative energy business – that includes solar and wind power – in Bristol, Tennessee.

It was a symbolic green ribbon that was cut to signal the opening of Ecological Energy Systems in Bristol Tennessee.

The new business focuses on solar and wind power and have actually been doing business for over two years now.

This is their first store front, but their work is visible around the region, from commercial applications, to residential, and then there’s a solar farm.

819 solar panels placed atop Bristol’s old demolition landfill that’s no longer in use.

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A New High Energy Storage Concept for Solar PV

If you cannot beat them, then join them

 Hydrogenics Corp. announced that it has entered into an agreement with Enbridge Inc. to jointly develop utility scale energy storage in North America. The collaboration will bring together Hydrogenics’ expertise in water electrolysis with Enbridge’s expertise in the ownership and operation of natural gas pipeline networks and renewable energy generation. . With ’Power-to-Gas’, the hydrogen produced during periods of excess renewable generation will be injected into the existing natural gas pipeline network, proportionally increasing the renewable energy content in natural gas pipelines for essentially the operating cost of the electrolyzer. Small quantities of hydrogen can be manageable in existing natural gas pipeline networks. With the significant scale of the natural gas pipeline network, these same quantities of hydrogen have a very meaningful impact on electricity energy storage potential. The natural gas pipeline network represents a vast energy storage system which already exists. The utility scale energy storage leverages existing natural gas pipeline and storage assets to enable improved operability for the electrical system. Furthermore, the economics are further improved by leveraging existing gas generators to bring this renewable energy back to the electrical grid where, and when, it is needed most.

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Tennessee Could Power the World’s 1.5 Billion Without Electricity

An estimated 1.5 Billion people, or a quarter of the world’s population, are without electric power.  Reliable electric power is key to economic development around the world.  Electricity is needed to power cell phones, medical equipment, schools, lighting, radio, and many other uses to increase human health and the quality of life.  The answer to reliable electric power for all people is a solar powered, inexpensive, air-droppable power source.

According to the Humanitarian Technology Challenge sponsored by the United Nations Foundation and the IEEE, what is needed is a low cost, high reliability, low maintenance, high scalability and flexibility, environmentally friendly solution to energy accessibility.  A household in a rural area without power only needs a modest 0.1 to 1 kW of power, and a rural hospital only needs 3 to 5 kW of power.  A solar powered air-droppable power source fits all of these requirements.

Our vision is a 5 kW solar array combined with a power box that will house all the power electronics and enough energy storage to continue supplying power at night or through the rainy season.    The power source is neatly packaged and air-dropped into location, where it can be set up in a few hours by the local population.  All they have to do is inflate the solar panel array, plug it into the power box, and then simply plug in their lights, cell phones, or anything they require day or night.

As the village requires more electricity, the modular design of the system allows for the flexibility of adding more panels or more energy storage in the future.  A system can accommodate energy storage levels from 1 kWh to 50 kWh.  The system could also be used as an energy source for a micro grid connecting to all of the houses and small businesses in the village.

This is an achievable goal with new technology in the next 5 years at a low price that would enable a village to buy their own systems.  Instead of relying on foreign aid money, the people of the village can pay as little as $2.00 a month to buy their own power source through micro loans.

We could build a factory for these systems here in Tennessee, and sell these systems to the people of less developed countries all over the world.  This would be a giant leap to helping our fellow humans.  We can bring jobs and money into our community, while making the world a better place for everyone.  We are our brother’s keeper.

For more information on the Humanitarian Technology Challenge, visit their website at: ieeehtc.org.

Power Tower and Salt Storage

With approval of the Environmental Impact Review on its 200-megawatt, two-tower Saguache Solar Energy Project, SolarReserve hopes to soon get started on a new pair of solar power tower/molten salt storage facilities.”"

“This is the major environmental permit,” SolarReserve CEO Kevin Smith said. “The bigger issue, in order to start construction, is we need to secure an offtaker.” CEO Kevin Smith also stated that his solar power tower and molten salt storage system is “less expensive, more efficient, and technically superior.”

SolarReserve’s flagship 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant in Nevada has a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Nevada Power and is under construction and scheduled to come on-line at the end of 2013. For more information please click here.

Team claims highest efficiency for quantum dot photovoltaic battery

A research group at the University of Tokyo and Sharp Corp developed a quantum dot-type photovoltaic (PV cell with a high efficiency.

Its cell conversion efficiency is 18.7% without light condensing and 19.4% at the time of 2x light condensing. The research group is led by Yasuhiko Arakawa and Katsuaki Tanabe, who are professor and specially-appointed associate professor, respectively, at the Institute for Nano Quantum Information Electronics, the University of Tokyo.

The 18.7% efficiency is the industry’s highest efficiency for a quantum dot-type PV battery that is not concentrating light, Arakawa said. Before the achievement was made, the highest efficiency had been 18.3% achieved by a research group at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The latest quantum dot-type PV battery was developed by using the “intermediate band method,” in which conversion efficiency is improved by forming a superlattice structure (in which quantum dots are three-dimensionally arranged) and a miniband (intermediate band) that absorbs infrared light.

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Energy IS National Security says Wesley K. Clark

This guest post was written by Wesley K. Clark, the retired Army general and former NATO supreme allied commander. Clark is a senior fellow at the Burkle Center for International Relations at the University of California, Los Angeles. Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

By Wesley K. Clark
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama called for the U.S. to “double-down on a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising.”

Solar, wind and other clean energy technologies played a central role in the president’s address because of their importance to American economic competitiveness and prosperity – and rightly so, the sector is already providing a welcome spot of job and market growth with the opportunity for much more with further U.S. commitment. But while all eyes are on the economy, let’s not forget that those same clean energy investments are mission critical to another top national priority: to strengthen American energy security.

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President’s 2013 Budget Revives 1603 Solar Tax Credit, Eliminates $4B in Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Here are some of the highlights of the energy portion of the budget:

  • The budget provides for an extension of the Section 1603 Treasury Program, a program that addresses the scarcity of tax equity for financing solar projects.
  • The budget proposes the repeal of over $4 billion per year in “inefficient” tax subsidies to oil, gas, and other fossil fuel producers.
  • The budget proposes funding the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at $2.33 billion, an increase from 2012 figures.
  • $310 million for the SunShot Initiative to make solar power at grid parity without subsidies by 2020.
  • $95 million for wind power, including offshore wind technologies.
  • $65 million for geothermal power and enhanced geothermal energy technology.
  • $770 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy, including funding to research and develop small modular reactors (SMRs).
  • The DOE receives $27.2 billion under the budget request, a 3 percent increase from 2012 levels.
  • The Office of Science would receive $5 billion to fund basic research.
  • The beleaguered DOE loan guarantee program would not win any expanded funding, though the budget does call for maintaining the current loan portfolio.

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