The Challenge Of Storing Clean Electricity.
One of the biggest challenges to adding intermittant renewable energy sources to the electric grid past the 20 percent mark is the very fact that these source are intermittant. Solar photovoltaic and wind energy technologies are great sources of clean energy but only when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing.
Energy storage is the most likely technology that will allow us to move past this limitation at both the utility and single building level. Energy storage attached to the electric grid will allow an expansion of utility scale renewable energy. Home energy storage will allow a futher expansion of home solar power systems.
Here is a wild idea based on movable massive sized battery technology. What if we could build huge batteries the size of railcars and move charged units from where the power is made to where it is needed? This is the thinking behind the ARES energy storage system.
ARES’ technology uses heavy rail cars that are pushed to the top of a grade using excess power from renewable energy plants or when electricity demand is low. Then, when the wind drops, the sun stops shining, or electricity demand rises, the rail cars are released back down the hill, generating electricity through regenerative braking.
Because the system doesn’t rely on the use of water like the aforementioned ocean-based systems, the company says the technology is suitable for a wider variety of areas with minimal environmental impact. The company says the system can also respond to increases or decreases in demand in a matter of seconds, boasts a charge/discharge efficiency of 86 percent, and can deliver constant power for periods of up to eight hours.
This is a very novel concept from this company for storing clean electricity.
Do you think that this is feasible?
What are the unforeseen consequences of such a system?
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.