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How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 5:25 AM

"Vattenfall is now participating in a unique project that allows wind energy to be stored and converted to hydrogen gas." Read more:

http://www.globalenergywatch.com/news/2905/Vattenfall_converts_wind_energy_to_hydrogen_gas.htm

My experience in Germany is that as the favourable tariffs are reduced each year these wind towers are looking for opportunities to extract more or better revenue from their process.

Since the grid doesn't store electricity it only moves it - being able to convert off-peak wind energy which today is essentially wasted into a medium which is then used to produce on-peak electricity seems to make perfect sense.

Detractors say this method is inefficient and in the end will not be profitable but I'd like to hear from some of the experts on this site Thanks.

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#1

Re: How to convert off-peak wind energy into on-peak electricity production?

01/13/2012 5:47 AM

One word:

"storage".

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#7
In reply to #1

Re: How to convert off-peak wind energy into on-peak electricity production?

01/13/2012 9:24 AM

What do you mean please?

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#2

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 7:18 AM

If someone can figure out how to do it, use the surplus wind energy to create some magical "Magnegas", and then later burn it in a turbine. Watch out for excessive temperatures, though, because this is allegedly a metal-cutting gas.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 7:32 AM

Tornado agreed,

Believe it or not I don't have my MagneGas hat on for this one!

This post was not about MagneGas but was about pure Hydrogen, they are using Electrolysis....

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#4

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 8:18 AM

Experts?

How is this better than pumped storage or fly wheels?

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#5
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 8:34 AM

Hello there Lyn,

Ok, I am not sure I understand.

Today off-peak wind towers either keep spinning or have the brakes on either way their potential to produce electricity is wasted. This Franco German group have attached electrolysis units to use this off-peak time to produce hydrogen which is stored and then burned on-peak or used in cars or whatever.

How do you see pumped storage or fly wheels involved?

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#10
In reply to #5

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 10:18 AM

How does the efficiency of H2 generation/burning compare to the known technology of pumped storage or flywheel storage.

It wasn't a trick question.

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#11
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 10:41 AM

Ah got ya now!

Well wind towers are usually in the wide open fields of farms, in the sea or if there are hills or mountains around they will be near the top so pumped storage may be problematic.

Regarding flywheel storage I have no clue whatsoever...

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#17
In reply to #11

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 11:01 PM

Umm, . . . pumped storage ponds could be hundreds of miles away from the source of electricity.

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#19
In reply to #11

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 5:14 AM

U'r using the electicity generated to convert into hydrogen, It doesn't have to be anywhere near the wind generator, It can be in the next state for that matter, the grid goes everywhere so you can set up hydrogen plants where ever you like.

Bazzer

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#46
In reply to #19

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/20/2012 2:54 AM

Bazzer,

Thanks for that information I honestly didn't know that, but I guess it makes sense.

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#6

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 9:18 AM

I think the hydrogen idea is good. Using hydrogen as a storage medium will increase outlets for car consumption, and increase the use of hydrogen as car (or truck) fuel. Storing hydrogen is not all that easy, but they will be able to use the excess electricity to cool and compress it to a liquid. Since the electricity is 'off peak' it is less valuable.

The alternative is to somehow transmit the power to the other side of the globe where it is 'on peak' time. Microwave to satellites or something.

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#8

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 9:39 AM

The efficiency of converting water to hydrogen gas by electrolysis is about 65%. The most efficient way to generate electricity from hydrogen is the hydrogen/oxygen(air) fuel cell, which has about 50% efficiency. In both cases the efficiency can be raised by operating at very low current densities, but this makes a nonsense of the cost effectiveness of the system. Thus the overall efficiency, ignoring any other losses present, is about 32.5%. The rest has been lost, mainly as low grade heat. It may be possible to raise the electrolysis efficiency to around 80% using special catalysts, but that only increases the overall efficiency to 40%. If we can live with that, then this process could be used, but it's hard to get excited about it.

There is an alternative way to store electricity in the "redox flow battery" which has received much attention. This is a more efficient way to store electricity than the above. No doubt various methods will be tried to find out which is best as regards cost, efficiency, safety, longevity, maintenance etc. - things that are difficult to predict in the laboratory.

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#9

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 10:09 AM

What is the size of the project ?

For a small system charging a battery and an inverter would do the job efficiently enough.

Water storage pumping / turbine systems have been in use for more than 30 years and are quite efficient (a turbine can be as efficient as 90%) and storing water is not rocket science.

Hydrogen can work but the properties of hydrogen makes it less suitable for bulk storage and a main drawback is the low efficiency.

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#12

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 10:54 AM

The inefficiencies of creating, compressing, refrigerating, storing and reconverting H2 to electricity make this process hard to cost justify.

Vehicle-to-grid tech, using electric cars to store energy off-peak, and return it on-peak while parked at work, makes some theoretical sense, at least in terms of efficiency. Unfortunately, batteries are good for a limited number of cycles, and are expensive, but if EV owners were compensated, it could work well for all concerned.

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#14
In reply to #12

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 2:15 PM

Electric vehicle is a great way to store off-peak power. It's direct, no hydrogen middle-man. The vehicles would normally be charged after work, so a simple timer could charge the vehicle off-peak. Some places have special rates for off-peak power.

Like my earlier post, this would encourage alternate power usage, get us off the oil habit.

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#13

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 11:16 AM

What Hydrogen storage capacity is required to equal our (1981) small 1000MWh / 250MW / 27000000m3 pumped storage dam / turbine system ?

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#58
In reply to #13

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/27/2012 8:23 PM

Depends on the head; 270m head x 1444 000m3 =1000MWh=250MW x 4h

(V= 1444 000m^3 = 380m x 380m x 10m deep storage)

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#15

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 10:27 PM

I am a supporter of pumped storage, but I have wondered whether it would be possible to use the excess power to electrolyze CO2? Sell the O2 and use the Carbon as a combustion fuel? Does pure carbon have a market for other uses?

Would it be possible to use the power to pump CO2 at its resonant frequency in order to reduce the thermal losses in electrolysis?

Gavilan

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#16
In reply to #15

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 10:51 PM

CO2 cannot be electrolyzed. Even if it could, why would you bother - we have all the carbon and oxygen we need. As for making carbon from CO2 and then burning it - that's energetically ridiculous.

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#18

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/13/2012 11:07 PM

When surplus electricity is available use it for winding series of heavy coiled springs to store energy and then unwind to release stored energy to generate elecricity during peak hours.

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#57
In reply to #18

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/27/2012 7:53 PM

Springs have very low coefficient of stored energy / weight of spring [kWh/kg]

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#20

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 10:03 AM

not enough detail provided in your link to form an opinion

the project is just a bit of research

the devil is in the details

storage is probably never going to be the best use for excess generation capacity

large power companies will naturally favor big centralized solutions

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#21

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 10:28 AM

Strange this should come up - I was about enquiring what storage would be required
to supply 40kw per day - for a normal household? (like ours) We use about
2kw per hour in a 16 hour day, with 5kw peaks for cooking and heating at night.

The point being, could this be stored by(in) a solid and at what height?

I imagine a large "cuckoo clock" type of mechanism (escapement) where the weight
is raised (off peak) and released through a generator drive, when needed.

Or, a motor/generator combined, motor to lift the weight, generator released weight.

Not difficult to calc. Total energy required for 40kw - X weight at height?
Assuming normal losses. Is it workable? Best way to do it?

jt.

ok, I know... I'm cuckoo, but could it work?

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#22
In reply to #21

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 10:47 AM

I'm sorry, but your units are all messed up. E.g., there is no such meaningful thing as 40kw per day or 2kw per hour.

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#56
In reply to #21

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/27/2012 7:44 PM

Assuming, You need to store 40kWh /day

It could work, but You would need 144m height x 100 000 kg solid

Or 100 000kg electrical train on rails if You have 150m hill somewhere near.

But time period between windy days and calm days is may be 5days, so train should weight 500 000kg. It is the same problem like with water hydro power station - with 150m head You would need 500 000 m^3 volume storage both down and up.

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#23

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 11:27 AM

Some months ago there was a most useful link posted in a discussion of hydrogen storage that I recall led to a fella in the northeast US who takes solar PV, runs an ?electrolysis? system and then pumps the hydrogen down into propane tanks.

Off peak he then runs the hydrogen into fuel cells to power his house.

The distinguishing memory tickler was this was an entirely residential system and he was storing quite the collection of propane tanks, he had also converted his mower to run on hydrogen if leaky memory serves.

Has anyone more organized than I still got the link or the guy?

Sheesh getting old sucks

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 11:34 AM

I remember that, but as I recall the only way it happened was by milking every subsidy available. Which means that you and I and the rest of us somehow paid a few cents into it. The system was bulky, looked unwieldy, and quite likely would be a maintenance hassle.

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#29
In reply to #24

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 4:27 PM

It looked as much hobby as economy, but then look at the frier oil folks?

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#25
In reply to #23

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 11:34 AM

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=hydrogen-house

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#28
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 4:26 PM

gracias, sir!

Appreciate you making up for my disorganization

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#26

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 12:13 PM

what about storing heat underground in big stones for use of heating air in your home

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#30
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 4:28 PM

This has been done, and works quite well!

Since it is a limited pool that can make use it can be hard to find links tho.

Try Thermal Mass Storage

and generally Passive Solar

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#37
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/16/2012 7:55 AM

What you mean like electrical storage radiators? been done too expensive.

Bazzer

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#39
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/16/2012 8:20 AM

I had seen instances of both hot air to stone storage as well as hot water mass storage, but both require major construction efforts.

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#27

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 2:19 PM

Hi Tornado, I was saying we use 40 kilowatts of electricity in a period of 24 hours.

Our average rate is 2 kilowatts per hour, (over approx. 15 hours) with peaks at 5 kilowatts per hour. (for approx. 2 hours.) How should I state our use?

i.e, I just need to store the capacity (energy) of generating 40 kilowatts, ready to be used (released) during the next 24 hours.

jt.

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#31
In reply to #27

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 4:44 PM

I think Tornado is trying to tell you that kW is a unit of POWER, not ENERGY. If you use 40 kW for 24 hours then you have used 960 kWH (kilowatt-hours). Likewise 2 kW for 15 hours is 30 kWH. kWH is a unit of energy. There is no such thing as "kilowatts per hour." That's like saying "my car engine gives 150 bhp per hour."

It looks to me that you want to store 960 kWH (that is a total amount of energy) per day. Correct?

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 8:28 PM

Not 40 kw FOR 24 hours - 40 kw DURING the 24 hours. We are only residential.

I accept kw is a unit of power (taken as read) and was only stating how
much we use in a set period of time. (24 hours) So the "energy" we need
to store is 40kw hours. (40 kw - for the (next) day - i.e 24 hours.)

Allowing for inefficiencies, could we "store" this energy in a weight, suspended
at a height (h) to operate a generator? What weight and height would we
need to have (for 40kwh) if we had, e.g, a lead block weighing X tons to fall a
height of h feet - to generate 40 kw during 24 hours. (using a controlled fall?)

And, what could be the best way of releasing (transferring) the energy?

For example: Imagine a large cylinder (c feet across) filled with oil (or water)
compressed at the top by a weight of say, 10 tons. The oil is forced out at the
bottom powering a generator during the day, and is pumped back up during off
peak time, - or by some other means. e.g. wind, or whatever. Is this practical?

What would be the most efficient way of storing the energy? (as I do not want
to pump x quantity (gallons) of water several fields away. - it seems v.inefficient?

jt.

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#33
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/14/2012 8:43 PM

You are totally in luck, we just finished discussing the calculations you need:

Grand Father Clock

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#35
In reply to #32

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/15/2012 8:53 AM

1 kWH = 2,660,000 ft.lb.

Therefore to store your 40 kWH would require (assuming no other losses) 106,400,000 ft.lbs.

In other words, if you had a 10,000 lb weight, you would have to raise it through 10,640 feet! As you can see - totally impractical.

Suppose you decided that 10 feet was a more practical height: the weight would have to be 10,640,000 lb. (4,750 tons!). Even if such a system was built, the falling weight would somehow have to be matched to a generator that had enough friction to slow the fall to 24 hours. Otherwise you would be generating too much electricity for your usage and would need to store it again!

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#91
In reply to #27

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 10:07 PM

If anything, that is even more confused than before. You really need to learn about correct units.

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#34

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/15/2012 8:52 AM

I suspect that the methanol cycle would work here. There are fuel cells that convert CO2 into methanol, there are also fuel cells that produce electricity from methanol and release CO. The methanol can be used as a fuel in internal combustion motors.

Use off-peak electricity to produce methanol.

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#36
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/15/2012 11:08 AM

Use off-peak electricity to produce methanol.


or scrub methane, charge batteries in electric cars, the are endless possibilities of industrial processes that could be run during times of Excess generation capacity

though they would require certain amount of over capacity be built to take advantage....


most anything would be better than producing hydrogen using electrolysis in terms of efficiency

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#38
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/16/2012 8:00 AM

All,

I have an image to post which is interesting, how do I do it?

Sorry for the newbie question....

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#40
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/16/2012 8:20 AM

That little green camera on the tool bar

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#41

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/18/2012 11:30 PM

Pumped storage solves the variable supply problem for solar, wind and tidal generation. Variable production is no longer an issue when power can be produced at a constant average rate by pumping to the storage reservoir during peak production and using the pumped storage to drive turbines at a constant output.

In a few small scale applications, pumped storage has been used in the US for decades. In large scale applications, where stream flows are adequate, the reservoirs can also be used for irrigation, recreation, and other purposes.

The motors, pumps, and water turbine generators used in pumped storage processes are relatively high efficiency devices; much higher than the heat engines used to power our transportation conveyances and power production facilities.

The great thing about grid based electrical power is its "portability." Wind and Solar power could be produced in a desert and then used to power pumps in a pumped storage facility many miles away where a single season's runoff of a relatively small stream or river could supply the water for several years of use. Again; where the power and supply reservoirs are used solely for pumped storage the only water "use" is the evaporative and seepage losses.

The challenges of variability in solar, wind, and hydro-kinetic power production processes can be met. Although quite expensive on the front end, the operating costs over the long term are far more favorable than Coal, Oil, Gas or Nuclear Power; and the total potential power is huge.

There are also a number of recent projects using rotational kinetic storage (flywheels) for peak demand applications. These systems could be used anywhere.

As always - economics drives technology. I pay 12 cents per KWH for my electricity. On one of the islands I visited the cost was 38 cents per KWH. That is a huge variation in price. Although a channel tidal turbine with small scale pumped storage or Rotational Kinetic Storage may not make economic sense where electricity is cheap; it might be quite competitive in places where electricity is very expensive.

Tidal power is a very predictable and dependable type of hydro-kinetic power in both scale and time, and makes the design of the pumped or rotational kinetic storage much less problematic.

As it has always been; the best way to improve the economics and global dynamics of energy use is to increase end use efficiency.

An example of this is in kinetic recovery - regenerative capable transportation processes. When looking only at the kinetic recovery, the radical increase in efficiency can be easily overlooked. Why - Because the relatively low efficiency of the power production is not factored into the equation.

Let us consider a high overall efficiency for an internal combustion engine based transportation or electrical generation system. We will use the figure of 25 percent for the overall efficiency. We will calculate this efficiency factor as the applied energy (w) / the input energy (E) where the efficiency factor EF = W/E. Since we are using combustion fuels in our Internal Combustion Engine or Electrical Power Plants the Energy input is equal to the combustion energy of the fuel.

Let us use an efficiency factor is given as .25. In this case for each 1 unit of work performed 4 units of combustion energy must be consumed. It then follows that in Kinetic Recovery processes for each unit of kinetic or gravitation energy recovered 4 units of combustion energy is saved. It is for this reason increasing end use efficiency gives such a good return on investment. Each unit of energy conserved at end use represents a multiple reduction in the required source combustion energy.

The return multiple is even greater for electrical lighting because of even lower "at the plug" efficiencies.

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#42
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/19/2012 10:29 AM

Is the 240-MW Lewiston Pump-Generating Plant at Niagara Falls small scale?

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#44
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/19/2012 11:40 PM

I stand corrected.

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#45
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/19/2012 11:51 PM

Brave Sir Robin - long time no see

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#47
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/20/2012 10:51 AM

'been lurking about but with work being as busy as it has been (no complaints, mind you) I haven't been spending much time on-line (goofing off).

Christmas break also keeps me away from the 'puter doing the more important things in life like visiting with the in-laws.

Cheers !

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#48
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/20/2012 11:06 AM

Just glad to see your face when we can

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#43
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/19/2012 10:37 AM

What considerations are there for environmental (fines for fish kill, etc) costs in the efficiency equation?

Smith Mountain Dam; 2 250,000 horsepower water pump motors

http://www.aep.com/environmental/recreation/hydro/smithmtn.aspx

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#60
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/01/2012 7:12 AM

You are right! Averaged efficiency of car engine is about 25%

But going more deeply in details, it is even worse. Only about 4% of fuel energy is used to move the car from point A to point B (in sense of Force needed to move the car x distance) The remainng 21% is lost in gear box, ...acceleration of car... air resistance force (proportional to V^2) ...

Avoiding unnecessary acceleration and speed, synchronizing in advance with street traffic lights, we can save 20...40% of fuel.

..global warming is in our legs :)

Also "trucks on the train" (part of a long distance transportation) could help.

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#62
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/01/2012 10:31 PM

Cars on the train?

I used to commute every other week from north of Los Angeles to Albuquerque, but needed my car at both ends - but seriously hated that drive.

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#63
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/02/2012 12:41 AM
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#65
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/02/2012 11:37 PM

I am seriously hurt you don't think I did my homework, especially since I drove right beside the tracks the whole way and had 13 hours one way to think about better ways

But there is only one autotrain

But given a few shekels

Private Cars

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#66
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 1:33 AM

there's plenty of technology

it's more a matter of logistics & marketing

a basic problem with public transportation, is personal space no one wants to rub elbows with the riff raff [anyone you don't know]

it's also real hard to beat the convenience of personal transportation

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#67
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 1:50 AM

http://www.dbautozug.de/site/dbautozug/en/start.html

The autozug in Germany is an amazing car train service, private cabins with showers and a restaurant car with amazing views. I've taken it several times but it only runs in the summer.

You always end up meeting and chatting with someone interesting here as most are pistonheads going from the bleak north to the sweeping driving roads of the south.

Tip: get to the restaurant early as seats are very limited.

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#68
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 6:16 AM

Sorry for hurting You. I didn't mean that personally. I was trying to find autotrain for You and I also failed :( . The intention of our discussion is what we can improve as people. Amtrak did first autotrain. And mentioned 50% CO2 reduction is significant. May be our discussion will inspire them to make another one. By the way.. interested if that autotrain pays back and they are planning to open new lines. May be making a website, collecting demand for this kind of trains would help...

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#69
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 10:03 AM

I have made myself misunderstood - I should have used more smileys

Was only pretending to be wounded, please don't take seriously.

There is much about the European trains I would like to import to the US, long before we talk about high-speed rail.

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#70
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 10:55 AM

Me & E go way back [internet time scale], don't mind the parry & thrust

there's ton's of potential for improving transportation efficiency

the demand needs to lead the infrastructure.

In E's example the rails already basically follow I-40. how many hours could be added to a 13 hr trip, before the value diminished too much?

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#64
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/02/2012 9:29 PM

Garthh was faster...

..in supplied link they claim You would reduce to 50% generation of CO2 this way

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#72
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 2:01 PM

Getting back to off-topic

At diesel fuel price peak the total costs of going home every other weekend looked like this:

$900 in diesel fuel

26 hours lost driving ( a mundane task I'd have turned over to autopilot if I had one)

Hours 'crashed' on either end recovering because I never let the trip interfere with my job and 1800 miles is a stretch of the legs over a weekend.

Reward? About a day to kanoodle with my now-wife and work on the house I owned but didn't live in.

Well worth it, but I would certainly have taken an alternative.

Did ride the train one weekend, found it quite enjoyable if somewhat spartan in coach, and staggeringly expensive for anything but coach.

There is much Amtrak could do to increase ridership, one being address the fact that middle class women do not sleep in public lest they be accosted in our country.

But the biggest change would be increase rail access, single tracks everywhere mean everybody has to defer to freight, and a problem may leave you stranded in the boonies, and train routes were laid out before the turn of the century - to whit, I can get from Los Angeles to Flagstaff, but Flagstaff is now a sleepy little college / ski town - not the state capitol. I cannot take a train from Los Angeles to Phoenix, or a train from Los Angeles to Flagstaff to Phoenix.

Way too much "can't get there from here" in American railroading, and serious serious challenges trying to extend them - see Antelope Valley Extension - a ten year long fight to run a second track through the only watering hole in miles of desert. Modern trains don't need water, but that is where the right-of-way was laid ever so many years ago.

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#49

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/23/2012 1:35 PM

Every proposal I see talks about storing energy into a vehicle either as electricity or a fuel like diesel or hydrogen or ethanol. Why bother to shift the energy in storage containers?

In Scarboro Ontario which is a suburb of Toronto they built a light rapid transit system Where the fuel was in the roadway not the vehicle. Magnetic induction propelled the vehicles. No fuel was stored in the vehicle. Suppose cars could be propelled in the same way? Then each car only need to store enough energy to move from parking spaces to the magnetic roadway.

I realize this requires a total change in infra structure but so does a network of hydrogen refuelling stations. I remember when Professor Scott first suggested nuclear stations be used to generate hydrogen during their off peak hours. That is almost 40 years ago and we are nowhere near closer to a practical working solution but everyone is now talking about the hydrogen highway.

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#50
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/23/2012 4:57 PM

Having played with this idea for 20 years, I feel I should bring it to the notice of those who can still think out of the box.

Off shore wind energy can be stored at very little cost at the point of collection and can be called on when wanted.

The rotary action of a "windmill" is not converted into electricical energy but used to pull buoys below the sea surface. When wanted the buoys are allowed to rise and are used to drive the generator.

Any energy loss relates only to the mechanical gearing and the downward pull will relate precisely to the upthrust.

With efficient gearing even a slight breeze can add to the energy bank yet the electrical energy can be drawn at vast chunks when wanted.

Buoys and firm sea anchors with strong cables would be needed. The buoys can be made from used tyres formed into cylinders inflated (this I have done) and floated into place, the sea anchors can be installed from the surface to surround the windmill.

The windmills could be of the vertical axis type where wind from any direction will provide a rotation to wind the buoys down. and with variable gearing any wind speed can be used.

The corrosion in sea water can be avoided with the right materials and barnacles can be scraped off ropes as they are pulled through their sequence, any barnacles on the buoys will not increase their weight under water.

Just to add to this, the buoys can be made from discarded tyres that are still airtight but have their treads worn down. Prisoners could be usefully employed in making the buoys. Any air pressure lost over a time can be maintained by air lines from the windmill platform. Any maintenence can be done by letting the buoys float to the surface.

In deep water the height of useful travel is greatly increased and struts from the deck to the nearest pulleys will add stability to the windmill.

Once the detail of the entire outfit is established the cost of construction is small.

I offer this to the world - either forget it or look into it and make it happen.

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#51
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/23/2012 5:29 PM

Can you elaborate on this tire float concept? How big a tire do you envision? Any idea of how much power this could store or how many or how big the floats would have to be to practically deliver usable power.

Following this concept to its logical conclusion I suspect a wave action powered linear alternator would provide an equal amount of power at less initial construction cost. The notion is good. At present the base support for wind turbines is not being used.

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#52
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/23/2012 8:27 PM

how many tons of lifting force would it take would it take to store a couple of megawatts?

what kind of cost per watt?

here's a thread about the overhead version

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/74964

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#59
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/27/2012 9:42 PM

Interesting idea... but:

1. offshore wind turbines are located on shallow water (to lower cost of tower) or artificial islands. So that buoys coudn't be near to the windmills.

2. If buoys would be made of tyres, You could submerge them only to about 30..60m below surface ( depending on the pressure inside (3..6atm)). Below this limit they would be compressed by water pressure and water would leak to the inside (of tubeless tyres).

3. To store energy from one 4MW turbine x 6h (to shift energy from night to day)

You would need about 2 mln truck tyres.

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#54
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/24/2012 11:31 PM
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#55
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/25/2012 11:23 PM

The idea of charging inductively from a single wire laid down in the road bed is aligned the wrong way. The inductor should cross the flux lines at right angles.

Insufficient amount of wire if flux would be generated by one wire. Need many wires in a coil.

The magnetic levitation and propulsion have the coils installed at right angles to motion. and it has coils not a single wire. Transportation using single wires do exist but physical contact must be maintained in order to transfer energy from single wire to motors in vehicle. sometimes they are called electric trains and sometimes trolley busses. Europe has developed a superb transportation network using this approach. We used to walk from our apartment two blocks to a stop. a 10 minute ride brought us to a transfer station wher we boarded a faster vehicle. Half an hour later we arrived at yet another transfer station and a few hours later we were dropped off at my uncles farm. half way across the country. All propelled electrically.

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#53

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

01/24/2012 5:44 AM

Over here in the UK we have a lake that is used as a battery, go to http://www.wales-underground.org.uk/electric/ this site gives you a walk-around tour,It's amazing and it's what you can do to use off peak power,also if there is a sudden demand for power this plant can be up and running in about 40seconds and will run for about 5 hours giving the power Cos time to bring another power station up to speed, then when the demand drops down again the water in the lower lake is pumped back to the top ready for the next surge.

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#61

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/01/2012 8:38 AM

Wind storage?? Curries, beans and bottles.......

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#71

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 12:11 PM

Whatever happened to original thread subject? Although rail transport is of interest deserving a thread of its own; it does not seem to relate to original post and none of the recent post are tagged as off topic. Storage of wind energy is the key issue and the limited capacity of the grid in some area aggrevate the problem. There isn't enough grid transmission capacity to transmit wind power to regions needing it.

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#73
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 2:02 PM

My humblest apologies

Please feel free to tag this unworthy as OT as often as you see fit, you are quite right.

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#77
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 5:23 PM

+The rail thread subject is great and well worth while. I thought of one way to marry the two. Europe is big on electric trains. A transcontinental rail line driven electrically could possibly get powered from wind turbines. Dynamic braking could help store energy on downhill runs as well as supplementing wind turbine power.

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#74
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 2:07 PM

A very good point, as well as a question I have had concerning it...

How far is the efficiency 'break' point for transmission? Gotta be one but way out of my field.

Or is looking at the grid as 'dark' at time 0 the wrong way to approach it?

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#75
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 4:51 PM

Power transmission is a challenging technology. Quebec Hydro is at present tapping the wilderness of the James Bay drainage basin in the far north region.

Because the bulk of the financing came from NY so the resultant power developed go back to NYC. Hydro Quebec built a 500,000 V transmission lines. The inductive and capacitive losses would have been prohibitive so they elected to make the transmission line direct current. As you can well imagine the technology to rectify extremely high DC voltages was a challenge in itself and was not possible with older technology.

Another issue is the geographic location north to south. This happens to parallel the earth's magnetic lines. Power lines running east west are less susceptible

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#78
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 7:19 PM

REALLY?

See I thought we went AC transmission to provide 'legs' as it were.

The stuff I don't know.

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#79
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 9:39 PM

I worked for a company that provided the entire SCADA system for Bangladesh but as a subcontractor for Hydro-Quebec. HQ got the job under the Canadian International Development Agency under the auspicies of IMF. We had monthly engineering meeting with a group oif engineers who flew in for the meetings. Learned a lot of trivia during business lunches.

I also found out by accident that a big transmission line near here going east west across the Rockies and coastal mountain ranges was a triple quad 500 KV DC line.

Quad lines are used instead of single conductors to maximize conductivity while making use of skin effect. When I worked for a power utility company we had a 220kV transformer station. All the switch gear was built from hollow 6" tubing because of this skin effect.

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#80
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 9:59 PM

Wow, so I had dealt with skin effect in high frequency, but never occurred to me to look for skin effect in DC.

But getting way off my reservation.

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#81
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 11:59 PM

It was news to me as well. I was hired as an engineering technologist by a utility company. As part of the town upgrading they were changing over to a residential power distribution system of 27,600 V and we had to have a new feeder source so they built a 4 MW transformer station that tapped into a transmission line running at 220,000V As part of the regular maintenance my work partner and I had to be trained up in all aspects including the high voltage switch gear. Its quite impressive opening a switch under load at 220,000 vots. It pulls an arc of almost 10 feet in humid air. The low voltage side of things was only 27,600 so the bus bars were solid copper. Apparently they do this to give flexibility for bending during construction and thermal mass for heat dissipation under full load current. At least that was what we were told.

The skin effect is more pronounced as the voltage rises.

Its almost like playing with giant Van Der Graff machines. Now imagine doing this with wind turbines. When Xantrex was busy buying up the competition they acquired a small company that had developed the solid state rectification and controls stuff for the wind turbines located out near Palm Springs. This was really exotic stuff compared to ordinary inverters.

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#82
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 12:19 AM

It pulls an arc of almost 10 feet in humid air

Think I saw a video of same was going around

Used to play with high voltage but only inside cabinetry, radar and CRTs. But nothing like you are talking about, sounds like fun.

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#83
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 2:22 AM

It wasn't ours. As part of the comissioning tests we had to trip and operate every safety device including tripping the main disconnect. Anticipating some fireworks several of us gathered outside to watch. In daylight it was not as spectacular as at night would be.

Kitchener had a similar transformer station but their switch yard was within sight of their control room so they set up a fast video camera to capture a disconnect done as part of their annual maintenance work. Our station was fully automatic, controlled by a telephone wire link going to a remote control building some 10 miles away. Our normal low voltage switch gear for 27,600V was spring operated and the contacts were shielded by arc supressors inside a metal clad enclosure. Quite noisy but didn't see a thing. Sounded more like the 3" naval guns I have heard.

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#76

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/03/2012 5:22 PM

the process of converting electricity to H2 losses over 50% of the energy. Then to convert it back by expensive fuel cells you lose and 25%. This means you lose 65% of your energy and it cost a fortune in gen systems and fuel cells.

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#84

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 2:41 AM

Nothwithstanding the interesting side trip into transmission line the main topic of this thread is suppose to be about storing energy produced during low demand periods.

Wattenfall is proposing to create hydrogen then use it as fuel elsewhee. Their write up says nothging about what they propose regarding storage of hydrogen gas. Ballard has done extensive work on containers able to effectively seal off tanks and piping storing hydrogen. One phusical detail that is going to be very difficult to cope woth is the tiny size of a hydrogen molecule.It permeates solid metal because the hydrogenb atom migrates right through the molecular latice of ordinary materials capable of containing the extremely high pressure of a hydrrogen tank. You have to store hydrogen under high pressure to get swufficient enegy density in a practicalcontainer size. I worked for a company building parts of the fuelling machines for nuclear reactors. We were given permission to pressure3 test the conduits and junction boxes with helium because it was a non flammable gas with a molecular size similar to hydrogen. A long as we could pressurize the piping and run a leak down check and pass the Atomic Energy Comission considered it sufficient for excluding hydrogen. This molecular migration is still the most vexing problem associated with hydrogen storage. Until its solved we are not going to see much progress in having consumer accessed refuelling stations like we do now with gasoline.

Wattenfall talks about pilot projects and on site co generation. Its only a proof of concept.

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#85
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 11:04 AM

Jeez, I just looked up embrittlement.

We got some work to do.

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#86
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 11:42 AM

GA. (I tried to vote, but the system seems saturated just now.)

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#87
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 2:13 PM

Ballard tried making tanks from a non metallic material. Good but no cigar. The quest continues. There was a squelched rumour of a tank explosion at one point. Ballard and a couple of other companies are still in the forefront of fuel cell development. For the time being they use a liquid fuel and separate out the hydrogen just before use. Other approach is using some kind of membrane. I stay focussed on how to use the electricity once its generated. Too much on my plate otherwise.

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#88

Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 5:47 PM

Discussion about transmission is not without a reason. Long distance low loses Ultra High Voltage lines could give a partial solution.

Distance between area with high wind and area with low wind is 2 ...4 thousands km. Building lines with low loses like for example:

http://www.abb.com/industries/ap/db0003db004333/148bff3c00705c5ac125774900517d9d.aspx

we could send excess energy from windy area to calm area with 7..15% loses. This is few times less than loses of conversion to hydrogen and back.

If we would add controlling of secondary priority loads (like acumulating heaters) according to the power generated by wind turbines, we could use peak wind energy without grid destabilization.

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#89
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 6:18 PM

Whoopee! So what else is new? We were using ABB equipment several decades ago.

The topic is about CONVERTING off-peak to on-peak energy. Transmission is secondary. The challenge in North American application is the fact the landscape is divided into so many jurisditions. China is huge by comparison and only one authority prevails and only one funding source needs be consulted. The challenge for both wind and solar is STORAGE.

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#90
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/05/2012 9:38 PM

ABB is not new. New is more efficient transmission line, allowing to ( transmit energy from windy area to consumer area with reasonable loses ) use peak wind energy.

Low loses transmission lines allow also to send energy to locations, where pumped storage is possible. Or to flatten daily peaks by transmitting energy to east/west one hour time zone distance.

I agree, that storage sticks better to the topic, but... I would prefer to have above solutions (7%..30% loses) over storage with 50%..60% loses.

Jurisdition is an artificial obstacle, man - made, so man - solvable. Not physical one, like transmission loses or lack of water and head near wind farm.

But if You think it is out of topic, no problem, I am switching off at this thread.

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#92
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/07/2012 1:56 AM

You are assuming peak output of wind coincides with peak demand elsewhere. In which case a power transmission line would make sense.

However, as a for instance, peak demand on east coast of America begins at breakfast around 6:00AM and lasts until 9:00 AM roughly speaking. However in the primary wind zones in the mid west or rocky mountains near the west coast this is 3 - 4 hours earlier in the depth of night. This is not usually peak wind development time. Winds are often partially driven by sun heating or weather movement influenced by sunrise and daylight. This is why the pumped storage at Niagara Falls is pumped up over night for release of water to help the morning breakfast peak.

Energy storage needs to be something that can shift release several hours or even a day from time of generation. Until you work for a power utility you will not fully appreciate the intricate demand cycle of your local region. Professor Scott in Toronto was proposing hydrogen generation during off peak hours overnight, using the then new nuclear stations builkt by Ontario Hydro way back in the 1970's. Hardly a new idea. Evidently the German company is going to try the idea again, possibly a better storage tank method. But they can hardly lay claim to the idea as being original when that was first proposed and publicized some 40 years ago.

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#93
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Re: How to Convert Off-peak Wind Energy Into On-peak Electricity Production?

02/07/2012 9:32 PM

1. My idea is to use all power generated by wind farms, including peaks.

It is usually so, that high wind area [km2] is four times smaller than low wind area. And the distance between them is of the order of 1500..2000km. So, having long distance low loses grid it would be possible to distribute energy from 2 mln km2 area across 10 mln km2 area (2mln windy and 8 mln calm). It would work as averaging of local high wind across bigger area. And, the bigger area, the smaller variation of the wind average. Imaine whole US and Canada covered by this system, or most important areas.. AVG would be quite constant.. And conventional Power Plants would be able to follow (produce power complementary to wind power) averaged wind production.

Using full wind capability, we can save oil, coal, gas .. and use it at peak demands. So, at wind peak 4 hours earlier, mentioned by You, neighbour Power plants could work at lower power, saving fuel. And using this saved fuel from 6 AM to 9 AM. This was my idea.

2. I also invented generating hydrogen using wind energy some 30 years ago. And probaby quite many people did it also... To invent is relatively easy, to do is more difficult...

3. By me, for now, the best is to build both wind farms and solar farms, and water pumped storages in proper power / capacity proportions. I would also generate hydrogen for Town buses and trucks.

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